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Reputed gang member convicted in 2006 killing of Santa Monica teen

CrimeCrime, Law and JusticeHomicideShootings

A reputed gang member was convicted of the 2006 killings of a popular Santa Monica High School student and a man who was gunned down at a city park, police said Thursday night.

Jose Zapien, 25, was also convicted of the attempted murders of 12 other people in 2004 and 2006, the Santa Monica Police Department said.

Authorities said Zapien fatally shot 15-year-old Eduardo "Eddie" Lopez in February 2006 as he walked near Pico Boulevard and 26th Street.

INTERACTIVE: Times Homicide Report

Eddie was a popular student and standout right fielder on the school baseball team, according to those who knew him.

"Eddie was well-liked by all and gunned down in the prime of his life," Sgt. Jay Moroso said in a statement.

Police said Zapien also shot and killed 22-year-old Miguel Martin two days after Christmas as he walked with friends at Virginia Park in the city's Pico neighborhood. The shooting was not far from where Lopez was slain.

Zapien is a member of a gang that operates on the Los Angeles area's Westside, according to police.

Zapien was convicted Tuesday after a jury deliberated for five hours following a two-week trial, police said. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9. He faces multiple life sentences without parole.

At least 24 homicides have been reported in Santa Monica since January 2007, according to The Times' Homicide Report database.

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Twitter: @LAJourno

robert.lopez@latimes.com

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