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Redlands police redeployed to assist in investigation of fatal shooting of 2 youths

The department has about 50 of its 74 officers working the case, a spokesman says. The mother of one of the victims believes the shootings were racially motivated.

January 08, 2011|By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times
  • Shanita Williams, sitting, and David Williams, right, parents of 17-year-old Quinn McCaleb, mourn at a memorial near where their son was gunned down on Post Street in Redlands.
Shanita Williams, sitting, and David Williams, right, parents of 17-year-old… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

The Redlands Police Department has redeployed dozens of officers to assist in the investigation of the fatal shooting this week of two black youths by a suspected Latino gang member, an incident the mother of one victim believes was racially motivated.

The department has about 50 of its 74 officers working the case, said Carl Baker, a police spokesman.

"We don't have a lot of homicides in Redlands," Baker said. "When we do have something like this, we devote all the resources we have available pretty quickly."

At the time of Wednesday night's shooting, Baker said, five youths were in the playground area between two apartment buildings at Oxford Drive and Post Street. At least one youth walked up and began shooting, killing Quinn McCaleb, 17, and Andrew Jackson, 16 — both of whom were black — and wounding two other youths. A fifth person was unharmed.

The department has released a drawing of the gunman, who is believed to be a Latino gang member. No arrests have been made, Baker said.

He said detectives are investigating whether more suspects may have been involved. Baker said investigators do not believe the shooting was racially motivated but that it may have arisen from personal disputes in which the parties happened to be of different races.

"There's a sense of racial tension," Baker said. "But we're not looking at this as a racially motivated crime necessarily."

Shanita Williams, the mother of Quinn McCaleb, who died in Wednesday's attack, disagreed.

As Redlands' population has grown over the last five years, Williams said, a Latino gang has increasingly harassed and attacked black youths. She said her son was beaten twice and often chased home from school. In addition, racist graffiti has occasionally appeared on neighborhood walls, she said.

"In my view, it's racially motivated. I'm going to be as blunt as possible," Williams said. "Multiple families have this issue. This is not an isolated incident."

A week before Thanksgiving, Williams said, Latino gang members armed with bats and guns knocked on the doors of houses where they thought McCaleb might be. Word spread through the neighborhood, and residents called Williams and the police. A helicopter appeared overhead and the group disbanded, she said.

Redlands police and clergy plan a march to "Heal the Land; Heal the City" at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The march will begin at Sun Avenue and Post Street, near where the shooting occurred, and end at Micah House, an after-school ministry for neighborhood youths, a few blocks away on Oxford Drive.

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