A 25-year-old parolee and alleged gang member has been arrested in the killing of a 4-year-old boy during a confrontation with suspected gang rivals in Los Angeles.
Howard Astorga of Los Angeles was booked late Thursday night on suspicion of murder in the shooting death of Roberto Lopez Jr.
The boy was walking with his sister to a local community center Tuesday afternoon when he was struck in the chest by a single gunshot in the 1200 block of West Court Street, just south of Angelino Heights.
Investigators believe that Astorga was the gunman, but other gang members are being sought in connection with the killing.
Astorga was taken into custody after two days of heavy community canvassing by the Los Angeles Police Department and several anonymous tips from residents, said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz.
Astorga, who allegedly goes by the moniker Dopey, was paroled in June, according to court records.
Investigators said they expect to make more arrests as the investigation continues. Sources said Astorga is a Diamond Street gang member.
Police have detained a second person who was with Astorga when he was arrested in the 2000 block of Cesar Chavez Street. The detainee was booked on suspicion of a probation violation.
Detectives believe the bullet that struck Roberto was intended for gang rivals in a passing car. Investigators believe that Astorga and other gang members exchanged words with those rivals before the shooting.
Astorga allegedly began shooting at the vehicle as it sped southbound on Bixel Street and then west on Court, police said.
Investigators said Astorga has been convicted of car theft, drug possession and weapons violations.
He was being held in lieu of $1-million bail.
A charitable fund, the Roberto Lopez Jr. Memorial Fund, has been established at Wells Fargo Bank to assist the Lopez family. Those wishing to make donations can go to any Wells Fargo branch and submit a check, money order or cash. Also, donors who are Wells Fargo customers may transfer funds directly.