Murder Charges Filed in Crash That Killed 3

A burglary suspect whose car hit another as he fled from police, killing three teen-age boys, was charged Thursday with three counts of murder, authorities said.

Los Angeles police officers said they spotted Oscar Orlando Arqueta, 30, attempting to burglarize a Sherman Oaks diner Tuesday and gave chase. As he sped through a red light at the intersection of Sherman Way and Kester Avenue, he broadsided a car carrying the teen-agers, police said.

The dead were identified as brothers Mario Osorio, 18, and Fernando Osorio, 16, of Arleta, and their friend Rafael Camargo Dawe, 17, of Van Nuys.

Arqueta was booked on suspicion of murder at County-USC Medical Center where he was described as in serious condition.

He is being held without bail, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Cohen said.

Arqueta was charged with three counts of murder, one count of burglary, and one count of evading arrest and causing death in a collision, Cohen said.

He said the murder charges carry special circumstance allegations that Arqueta committed multiple killings, which police said could make him eligible for the death penalty.

An internal investigation of the police chase concluded that the officers involved acted correctly. They had dropped a half mile behind the fleeing car when it entered an area with cross traffic, leaving it to a police helicopter to keep track of the suspect, the Police Department said.

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