One youth was in custody and others were being sought Tuesday after a 17-year-old Lake Forest boy was fatally shot late Monday when a rival gang tried to crash a party, authorities said.
Edward Flores, whom sheriff’s officials described as a Filipino gang member, was shot in the chest about 9:30 p.m. Monday after a verbal confrontation with members of another Asian gang at a house party in the 22000 block of Aspan Street, Sheriff’s Lt. Ron Wilkerson said.
“Witnesses indicated that there was some talking between members of two Asian gangs and gang slogans and/or hand signs were exchanged,” Wilkerson said.
Apparently, the conflict erupted because Asian gang members from another area were trying to crash the party, Wilkerson said. More than 200 teen-agers, many of whom had spilled onto the street in front of the residence, attended the party, neighbors said.
Initially, Flores talked to the youths, who were in a burgundy Ford Taurus, witnesses said. The car drove off but made a U-turn and returned to where Flores was standing, according to authorities.
One of the occupants in the vehicle fired at Flores, hitting him twice. Friends placed him in the back of a pickup and rushed him to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
“Kids out there were doing [gang] hand motions and calling each other down,” neighbor Bill Guerra said Tuesday. “The next thing I know, I hear a pop-pop-pop-pop. “
A 17-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita youth was arrested Tuesday after witnesses told investigators he was the passenger who fired at Flores, Wilkerson said. The suspect, whose name wasn’t released, was arrested at a girlfriend’s residence in Mission Viejo.
Flores’ friends said that he spoke to the occupants in the vehicle but did not provoke the attack.
“These guys came along and they wanted to crash, but then I thought they were going,” said a 16-year-old from El Toro High School, who identified himself only as Jim.
“Then they came back and I heard the shots and people started screaming,” he said. “I don’t know why they shot [Flores]; he wasn’t doing anything.”
The party’s 15-year-old host, who declined to give her name, said there was no gang activity inside the house where the party was taking place.
“I don’t know what the argument was about,” said the host, a student at El Toro High School. “I saw him get shot. I don’t know why they did that to him.”
Friends said Flores had attended a high school in Lake Forest, but the Saddleback Valley Unified School District office could not confirm his attendance in the district, said Elaine Carter, a district spokeswoman.
Aspan Street residents said the shooting was another example of youth crime that has plagued the neighborhood in recent years.
The street ends in a cul-de-sac that borders Mountain View Park, which neighbors say is a hang-out for teens.
“It’s getting out of hand--we’ve got to clear this up,” said Guerra, adding that residents will ask the City Council to help solve the problem.
Other residents complained of rising burglaries, car thefts and other crime.
“They hang out around the basketball court, doing drugs,” said a longtime resident, who asked not to be identified. “We’ve had a car stolen, another broken into; we’ve been robbed twice. I’m thinking of writing a book called ‘Aspan Street Adventures.’ ”
Anyone with information about the Taurus, with license number 2RUR719, is asked to call sheriff’s investigators at (714) 647-7055 or, after hours, call (714) 834-6490 and ask for the watch commander.