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Man Held in Teen’s Death

Times Staff Writer

More than two months after a Venice High School student was slain on campus while trying to protect his younger brother from gang members, LAPD officials on Friday announced the arrest of a 21-year-old man in the case.

Cymone Donyeal Turner had been in police custody since June 9 in connection with an unrelated crime, but police said they linked him to the Venice slaying through witnesses and tips from the public.

On Thursday, prosecutors charged Turner with one count each of murder, attempted robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Agustin Contreras, 17, was fatally shot June 5 on campus as he tried to prevent at least five gang members from stealing his brother’s cross necklace.

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The case shook the Venice community, prompting community meetings and calls to do more to deal with gangs in the area.

Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger of the Los Angeles Police Department expressed gratitude to community members, who he said helped police build their case against Turner.

Officials would not say how Turner was connected to the case. Paysinger said police are still seeking five other suspects.

He said this case struck a chord in the community in part because Contreras was killed trying to prevent his brother from being bullied.

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“Some young people kill for the sports of it. They can be merciless,” he said.

Contreras was one of three students killed in gang-related crimes on the Westside in recent months.

Santa Monica High School student athlete Eduardo Lopez, 15, was gunned down in February as he walked with two other teenagers. Last month, 16-year-old Hamilton High School student Ana Interiano was shot to death as she walked with friends in the South Robertson Boulevard area.

Contreras was killed during a confrontation that began when a group confronted his younger brother Alejo.

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“They came out of nowhere and said something like ‘I like your chain, homie,’ ” Alejo said.

Alejo said one of the gang members grabbed for the chain, and that he and another brother, 14-year-old Andres, fought back.

Agustin saw the fight and came to their aid, police said.

Others joined the fight, which moved from inside the school to the faculty parking lot. There, one of the attackers drew a gun and shot Agustin once in the chest.

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