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Suspected fugitive gang member faces charges in 1999 O.C. shootout

June 19, 2013|By Rick Rojas
  • Ca Van Le, an alleged fugitive gang member, is facing murder charges in a 1999 shootout in a Westminster restaurant parking lot.
Ca Van Le, an alleged fugitive gang member, is facing murder charges in a… (Orange County district…)

A suspected fugitive gang member who had been living in Virginia is now facing charges in the 1999 killing of a 16-year-old gang member during a drive-by shootout with rivals in Orange County, prosecutors said.

Ca Van Le, 32, is set to be arraigned Wednesday on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of attempted murder, with sentencing enhancements related to the alleged crimes being connected to a criminal gang, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.

Le, who previously lived in Santa Ana, is being held without bail. 

In the early morning hours of July 4, 1999, prosecutors said, members of one Orange County gang went to a Westminster restaurant known to be a hangout of a rival gang, where they confronted them in the parking lot, vandalized a vehicle and beat a rival with a steering wheel lock.

Prosecutors said retaliatory showdowns continued over the day. The gang members chased each other in cars, shot at each other and scuffled.

The next morning, the one gang returned to the same restaurant, looking for rivals to shoot, prosecutors said.

As their car pulled into the parking lot, prosecutors said, the rival gang members began firing their guns at the car, and they fired back.

Duy-Nguyen The Doan, who was riding in the backseat of the car pulling into the parking lot, was shot in the head and killed, prosecutors said. 

Prosecutors said members of both gangs were prosecuted in Doan's killing under the argument that members of his own gang had committed a "provocative act" and that Doan wouldn't have been killed had the gang not antagonized their rivals.

Prosecutors said seven gang members have been convicted so far: Si Phu Do, 32; Khanh Tuan Hoang, 30; Nhan Hoang Le, 32; An Quoc Nguyen, 30; Bao Quoc Nguyen, 32; Hieu Ho Trong Thai, 32; and Thuong Si Truong, 34.

Sentences ranged from 15 years to 95 years to life in state prison, prosecutors said.

Earlier this month, authorities in Orange County said they learned that Le, who had been sought for his involvement in the shootout, was living in Virginia. Prosecutors said he was arrested last week by Virginia State Police and extradited Monday to Orange County. 

Le was allegedly a member of the same gang to which Doan belonged. Prosecutors did not identify the gangs by name.

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Twitter: @rar

rick.rojas@latimes.com

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