Two 18th Street gang members sentenced for killing infant and shooting street vendor

Two 18th Street gang members convicted of an infant’s murder almost three years ago near MacArthur Park and the attempted murder of a street vendor who refused to pay street “taxes” to the gang were sentenced Friday to life in prison.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler sentenced Juan Pablo Murillo, 34, who was second in command of the gang, to life without possibility of parole plus 114 years to life in prison, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Victor Avila.

Guadalupe Torres Rangel, 42, an associate, also was sentenced to life without possibility of parole plus 107 years to life in prison.

The infant, Luis Angel Garcia, was hit by a stray bullet Sept. 15, 2007, as his mother and hundreds of other shoppers strolled amid the stores and outdoor vendors near the corner of 6th Street and Burlington Avenue.

Authorities said the gunmen were targeting a street vendor on 6th Street near MacArthur Park who had refused to pay $50 in “rent.” The vendor, Francisco Clemente, also was shot, as was his girlfriend and the baby’s mother. Clemente was shot four times but survived.

Gang members will often charge vendors to work on the streets they control and threaten them with physical violence if they do not pay.

Murillo and Rangel also were convicted of additional charges, including conspiracy and the attempted murder of Clemente, Avila said.

The jury found the murder and attempted murder were carried out to further a gang.

Sentencing for co-defendant Yovanni Velasquez, 28, was continued to Sept. 24. Sentencing for the admitted shooter, Giovanni Macedo, 20, is scheduled for Aug. 31.

Co-defendant David Gonzalez, 22, is serving 11 years in state prison, and Ralph Santiago, 29, is serving 13 years in state prison.