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Six Escape From Juvenile Hall After Car Smashes Locked Gate

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Six teen-agers, all accused of violent crimes, escaped from the Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall Friday morning after a stolen car rammed a locked emergency fire gate, creating an opening.

The youths then ran through the opening and leaped into a second vehicle, which sped away. They abandoned the first car.

Four of the escaped youths were being held on suspicion of murder.

“Five of them lived together in the same unit,” said Michael Brown, assistant superintendent of the facility on Eastlake Avenue in Lincoln Heights. “It’s obvious this is something that was planned.”

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Brown said another youth escaped from the complex about six weeks ago by climbing through a vent. But he said the gate-ramming was the first time such a dramatic breakout had occurred there.

None of the youths or the drivers of the two cars had been captured by Friday evening.

The incident occurred about 9:30 a.m. near the facility’s school, Brown said. Three of the youths were outside taking part in a physical education class and the other three ran from nearby classrooms.

The four youths who are accused of murder are Joseph Van Matthews, 17; Alvino Martinez, 18; Hugo Stewart Roman, 18, and a 17-year-old who was not named because of his age. Van Matthews faced prosecution as an adult.

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Francisco Javier Camacho, 18, is accused of kidnapping and rape.

Another 17-year-old, who also was not named, had been arrested after being released from the California Youth Authority, where he had been serving a sentence for assault with a deadly weapon.


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