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Aunt, 2 men held in shooting of South L.A. girl, 7

The woman's boyfriend, who police say is a known gang member, allegedly fired five to 10 shots into a house where the family of the woman's estranged husband lives.

February 20, 2009|Ari B. Bloomekatz

Three people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in South Los Angeles, police said Thursday. The suspects include the girl's aunt and her boyfriend, who authorities said was a known gang member.

"It's a horrific case. It's a case that really defies understanding," said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The aunt, Toni Valentin, 29; her boyfriend, Dante Quezada, 32; and Felipe Carias, 36, drove to a house in the 300 block of West 47th Street in the South Park neighborhood about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday because the family of Valentin's estranged husband lives there.

Valentin and her husband had recently filed for divorce, police said, and were engaged in a child custody dispute.

Authorities said Carias provided a van and a semiautomatic pistol used in the attack. One of Valentin's five children, a 5-year-old girl, was in the van.

Investigators said Quezada got out of the van and fired five to 10 shots into the house, striking the 7-year-old girl in the chest and arm. She remains hospitalized in stable condition. The estranged husband was not at the house when the shooting occurred, police said.

Investigators said Valentin later dropped her 5-year-old daughter off at the home of Valentin's estranged husband, who has not been identified. They have five children together, police said.

Valentin, Quezada and Carias were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder. Their bail was set at $500,000 each. Diaz said Quezada was a known member of the Newton HOB gang, which stands for Hang Out Boys.

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ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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