Youth Found Guilty in Drive-By Shooting

Times Staff Writer

A San Fernando Superior Court jury Thursday found a 17-year-old Pacoima youth guilty of one count of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a firearm for his part in a drive-by shooting that injured two boys outside a Sylmar junior high school.

The 17-year-old, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, was tried as an adult for the shootings of Francisco Plascencia and Hugo Lopez, both 14, outside Olive Vista Junior High School on May 3. Plascencia was shot in the chest and seriously injured and Lopez was shot in the knee. Both have recovered, said Deputy Dist. Atty. John Asari.

After deliberating for 2 1/2 days, the jury found the defendant not guilty of the attempted murder of Hugo Lopez. According to attorneys, the jury decided that the youth had fired intending to hit only Plascencia.


According to court testimony, the 17-year-old was driving his 14-year-old brother to Olive Vista Junior High when the shooting occurred. The younger brother, whose name was also withheld, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault with a firearm and was sentenced to California Youth Authority in July. The younger brother testified that he was the gunman, said Hector M. Briones, the 17-year-old’s attorney.

According to police reports, the two boys drove by about 30 Olive Vista students about 3:10 p.m. and fired six shots into the crowd. The brothers were arrested about half an hour after the shooting.

The 17-year-old said his younger brother had asked that he drive him to Olive Vista to see his girlfriend, Briones said. The 17-year-old testified that he did not know his brother had put a revolver under the car seat.

The younger brother testified that he had been harassed by gang members at the school and that Plascencia had participated in the harassment, Briones said.

Plascencia testified that he was not a gang member. Both brothers also testified that they were not gang members, Briones said.

The 17-year-old, who faces a maximum of 11 years in prison, is to be sentenced on Oct. 13.