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Brothers charged with murder in Palmdale shooting of 7-year-old

September 06, 2013|By Kate Mather
  • A makeshift memorial went up in front of the home of a 7-year-old Palmdale girl who was shot Wednesday morning and remains on life support.
A makeshift memorial went up in front of the home of a 7-year-old Palmdale… (Angel Jennings / Los Angeles…)

Two Palmdale brothers were charged with murder Friday in connection with a car-to-car shooting that left a 7-year-old girl brain-dead, prosecutors said.

Jesus Alberto Peralta, 22, and Carlos Peralta, 19, were expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon on counts of murder and shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said.

The brothers also face three counts of attempted murder, along with gun and gang allegations. If convicted on the charges, the brothers each face a maximum of 185 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Authorities initially arrested a third suspect, identified as Eduardo Diaz, of Littlerock, on suspicion of attempted murder, but district attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said charges were declined because of insufficient evidence. The case remained under investigation, she added.

The girl was identified by her family as Desirae Macias, who was described by relatives as brain-dead after the shooting.

Desirae remained on life support Friday afternoon, said Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. Dietz said the 7-year-old "will not survive," but noted it was up to her family to decide when to remove her from life support.

Desirae was shot early Wednesday in an incident that began at a Mobil gas station in Palmdale, where officials say her mother's boyfriend was confronted by a group of men, including the Peralta brothers.

Prosecutors allege the brothers "issued a gang challenge" to the boyfriend, but did not elaborate on the "brief confrontation" that followed.

Prosecutors say the boyfriend got in his vehicle with his girlfriend and her children -- including Desirae -- but the suspects followed in their own car, firing "several rounds at the vehicle containing the family."

The suspects chased the car through residential streets as the family tried to evade the gunmen, sheriff's officials said.

The family didn't realize the second-grader had been shot until after they made it home, Desirae's aunt, Rose Galvan, told The Times. Galvan said authorities told her a bullet ricocheted off a taillight and went through the backseat before hitting Desirae in the back of her head.

Desirae was shielding herself in the backseat when she was struck, Galvan said.

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com

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