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Bullet Pierces Home, Kills Boy, 11

Times Staff Writers

An 11-year-old boy was fatally shot Christmas night when someone fired several rounds into the Riverside home where his family had just moved, officials said.

Maximiliano Miranda was struck in the upper torso by a bullet that ripped through the house’s door or wall at 8:06 p.m., officials said. The boy died about half an hour later at Riverside Community Hospital.

Riverside Police Sgt. Leon Phillips said officials were unsure what prompted the slaying. Although the shooting “just smacks of gang violence,” he said, family members appeared to have no connections to gangs.

Police are looking for a suspect described as a 30- to 35-year-old Latino weighing about 210 pounds with a mustache and hair about 3 inches long.

He was seen driving a dark Mitsubishi Galant near the home, in the 6300 block of Antioch Avenue, officials said.

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The boy, his 10-year-old brother and their parents, who police have not identified, had moved to the Antioch Avenue home in the last week or so. A next-door neighbor said the family had come to Riverside from a Garden Grove apartment because they wanted to own a home.

“It’s Christmas, there are kids all around. Where can they go if they can’t be safe in their own home?” Bea Jaquez, a neighbor, said through tears Monday.

The working-class neighborhood is lined with single-story, stucco houses, most with short fences and strung with Christmas lights. Maximiliano lived in a beige house with two palm trees in the frontyard.

On Monday afternoon, there were at least four holes in the front door and one in a front window. Well-wishers had left vases of carnations and daisies, and four candles.

“I’ll probably come back with a teddy bear,” said a 51-year-old woman who said she lived on the street. “I cried and I didn’t even know him.”

The next-door neighbor, who identified herself only as Maria, said she had met Maximiliano’s mother about a week ago. The neighbor, 45, said the mother was a hairdresser and the father a photographer.

“I said, ‘Oh, you don’t know where you came to. This isn’t a good neighborhood,’ ” she recalled.

On Sunday night, neighbors who said they heard four or five gunshots quickly called 911.

Jaquez, who lives across the street, sent the youngest of her three boys, who were playing a video game, to the back of the house.

She said she heard screaming and thought it was from an argument.

But then she saw Maximiliano’s father pacing outside, grabbing his head and shouting in Spanish that his son had been shot, she said.

“My middle son saw the ambulance carry the boy away,” Jaquez said.

“He thought there was hope because they didn’t put a blanket over his face.”

The next-door neighbor said she dashed over and tried to resuscitate Maximiliano, as did Riverside police officers who arrived shortly thereafter.

The neighbor said she took some of Maximiliano’s relatives to the hospital.

They told her the family had been watching television in the living room and that the boy had retreated to a bedroom to watch a different program, she said.

The boy heard gunfire and ran into the hallway, where he was fatally shot, she said the relatives told her.

“My kids, they don’t want to live here anymore,” said the neighbor, who spent Monday with her doors locked. “They are just so scared that something will happen to them.”


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