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Third Gang Member in Slaying of Girl Seized

Times Staff Writer

A third teen-age gang member was arrested Wednesday in the drive-by shooting death of an 11-year-old girl, who was gunned down last weekend as she walked into the middle of two gangs warring over territory in the Pico-Union area, Los Angeles police said.

The 16-year-old suspect, a member of a gang of Central American youths believed responsible for numerous drive-by shootings in the area, was booked for investigation of murder in the death of Jasmine Guevara, Rampart Division Detective Art Castro said.

He was detained at Eastlake Juvenile Hall, along with two fellow gang members arrested earlier in the week in the shooting. Officials would not release the names of the suspects because of their ages, nor would they provide the name of their gang.

Police had been seeking the third youth for two days when they received a tip Wednesday about his whereabouts, Castro said. The detective would not elaborate on the information police were given.

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Jumped Over Fences

When officers spotted the gang member standing in front of a home on West 17th Street in the Pico-Union area, the teen-ager ran, “jumping over some fences” in an attempt to evade arrest.

About 20 officers were called in to surround a two-block area and search for the youth, Castro said. But it was a police dog that found the teen-ager hiding under a house a few doors away from where police first saw him.

“He was found underneath a residence in the 1300 block of West 17th Street,” Castro said, adding that the youth was not armed.

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Castro would not say if the gang member arrested Wednesday was one of the two triggermen in the slaying. Police were seeking a fourth gang member in the shooting, which occurred last Saturday night when Jasmine, her 14-year-old sister, Melda, and an aunt, Blanca Guevara, 42, were walking home from a neighborhood liquor store.

The 11-year-old and her aunt were hit by shotgun blasts, apprently intended for gang members who were standing nearby. The child was killed instantly. Her aunt was in serious condition, but improving Wednesday at County- USC Medical Center, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Melda was not hurt.


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