Frazier Joseph Francis, 18, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to firing the shots that critically wounded teacher Alfredo Perez last month. Francis, who is being held on $500,000 bail, is accused of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit great bodily harm. A preliminary trial was set for April 2 in Compton Municipal Court.
Police contend that Francis, an alleged gang member, spotted a car being driven by rival gang members and opened fire. "He was a terrible shot," said Det. Armasdo Moriel. "He couldn't even hit the car." A bullet entered the window of nearby Figueroa Elementary School and struck the teacher in the brain.
Meanwhile, Russell Arentzoff and Robert Lind, the paramedics who first arrived at the school after the Feb. 22 incident, were honored at their fire station on 108th Street with a certificate of commendation from members of the Los Angeles City Council. Four other firemen where also honored at the ceremony. Council members praised the work of the paramedics as vital in keeping Perez alive.