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Reporter Brings In Man Sought in Officers’ Killings

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A man whom police sought for questioning in connection with last month’s execution-style slayings of two Compton police officers surrendered to a television reporter Friday night and was immediately arrested by Compton police.

Keith Terris Caldwell, 22, was arrested in connection with the October murder of his pregnant cousin, but police said they also suspect that he has information about the slayings of the two officers.

Police allege that he killed his cousin while on parole for a 1985 rape.

Police, who had been searching for Caldwell for about 10 days, would not say whether they believe he is the assailant who shot Compton Police Officers Kevin Michael Burrell and James Wayne MacDonald. Earlier they had called Caldwell the primary suspect in the killings.

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Caldwell told Warren Wilson, a KTLA Channel 5 television reporter, before he was arrested that he did not kill the officers and he was not in Compton at the time. He said he surrendered because he was afraid of being shot by police.

“I’m on America’s most wanted list, and there’s a shoot-to-kill warrant on me,” he said. “I didn’t want to end up dead in the streets.”

Caldwell is the fifth murder suspect who has surrendered to Wilson in the last decade. The suspects all expressed concern about turning themselves in to police directly.

Officers believe that Caldwell, who was paroled from Folsom Prison 17 months ago, has spent at least part of the last few months in Orange County.

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SWAT teams from Compton, Anaheim, Tustin and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department raided an apartment in Anaheim and two homes in Tustin on Friday searching for Caldwell.

Two men and one woman were arrested and booked on suspicion of aiding a murder after the fact by harboring Caldwell, Taylor said.

Taylor announced the suspect’s identity at a tension-filled news conference.

Two Compton City Council members and Rep. Walter R. Tucker III (D-Compton) used the news conference to again call on Councilwoman Patricia A. Moore to publicly apologize for comments she made at Burrell’s memorial service Monday.

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Moore’s remarks--particularly the mention of Rodney G. King’s beating by Los Angeles police officers--were called inappropriate by Councilman Omar Bradley, who is running against Moore for mayor of Compton, and by Mayor Pro Tem Bernice Woods, who is seeking reelection to the council.

Burrell, a 29-year-old Compton native, and MacDonald, a reserve officer about to enter the Police Academy in San Jose, were gunned down Feb. 22 during a traffic stop. According to police, witnesses saw the officers pull over a red pickup truck on Rosecrans Avenue about 11:15 p.m.

The officers did not tell dispatchers they were stopping the car, leading police to speculate that Burrell or MacDonald recognized the truck.

The vehicle’s occupants left the truck and a partial pat-down search of the suspects was completed before one of them pulled a gun and fired, police said. Both Burrell and MacDonald, who were wearing bulletproof vests, were knocked to the ground. One of the suspects fired several bullets into their heads.

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Times correspondent Emily Adams contributed to this story.


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