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Wounded Girl Begs for Mercy--but Is Slain : Violence: The 13-year-old was shot in the arm, then several more shotgun blasts were fired. Two gang members are arrested in the killing.

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Her arm nearly severed by a shotgun blast, a 13-year-old Long Beach girl begged in vain for mercy before gang members fired several more shots that claimed her life, the slain girl’s mother said Monday.

“They executed her for nothing,” Kandie Rosales sobbed. “They wanted to kill something, so they killed her.”

About 14 hours after the savage attack that left Anita Rochell Briones sprawled dead on a street, two gang members were arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, Long Beach police said.

One suspect was identified as Ruben Guerrero, 18, of Long Beach. The identity of the other--a 17-year-old--was withheld because of his age.

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Officers said the shooting apparently stemmed from a dispute between rival gangs. Rosales said that while her daughter apparently knew some of the gang members, she was not a member and was an innocent victim.

“They’re killing kids who aren’t even in a gang,” the distraught mother said. “It’s like these people don’t even have feelings any more. . . . She was begging for mercy, and they treat her like she’s a dog. . . . They killed my baby.”

According to Rosales, Anita and her 16-year-old sister, Felicia, left the family’s home near Lime Avenue and 23rd Street at about 1 p.m. Saturday to attend a baby shower at the home of a friend about two miles away, in the 300 block of West 15th Street.

Rosales, 39, said other guests at the party gave this account of what happened:

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The party started breaking up at about 9 p.m., and Anita went to a nearby store to do some shopping. When she returned a few minutes later, she learned that Felicia had gotten into an altercation with members of the East Side gang, who hang out in an alley beside the home.

After the dispute ended, Felicia left with some friends. Afraid that their mother would be cross if she returned home without her sister, Anita decided to wait there.

About six hours later, with Anita still waiting in front of the home and several East Side gang members loitering in the alley beside the home, a car drove up.

“Someone in the car says: ‘We’re from the East Side gang and we want to talk to these guys,’ ” Rosales said. “Anita walks up to the car and says: ‘I don’t know you. You can leave now.’ ”

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It was then, Rosales said, that her daughter learned that the people in the car were actually from a rival gang.

“He said: ‘We’re from the West Side, bitch,’ Rosales said. “He shot her with the shotgun.

“She pleaded with him,” Rosales said through her tears. “She said, ‘I’m sorry.’ ”

Then the man with the shotgun fired again, Rosales said. “She said her (step)father’s name, trembled, and died.”

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The car sped away.

Moments later, at 3:47 a.m. Sunday, police received a call that someone had been shot. According to Long Beach Lt. Stephen McAndrew, Anita was pronounced dead at the scene.

Long Beach Detective John Boston said investigators confirmed the basic details of the shooting but are still looking for witnesses.

“It’s gang related, obviously, so people are afraid of retaliation,” Boston said. “They’re afraid to talk to (police). . . . As in most of these situations, she (the mother) can find out more information than we can. People don’t like to talk to us. Obviously, we have gotten some information, but we’d like more.”

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He said it was unclear why Anita was on the street six hours after the baby shower had ended. He said police believe Anita knew her sister had gone home.

Rosales said that in addition to herself and her husband, Arturo Rosales, 36, Anita leaves four other siblings in addition to Felicia--Maria, 15; Paula, 14; Alma, 11, and Arturo Jr., 9.

The woman said that she went to the shooting scene in hopes of finding something of her daughter’s to remember her by.

All she could find was the drying blood.

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“I picked up the blood clots and took them home,” she said. “I buried them here,” she added, pointing to her flower garden.

She said her daughter had hoped to become a movie star.

“Today . . . everyone’s going to see her picture,” the woman said. “This is as close as she’s going to get.”


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