Two suspects arrested in fatal shooting of 12-year-old boy in Wilmington, police say

A woman wipes away tears
Jenny Romero, mother of 12-year-old Alexander Alvarado, who was killed in Wilmington in December 2021, wipes her eye after learning that suspects in his death had been arrested.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Two people have been arrested in the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy and the wounding of two other people, including a 9-year-old girl, in front of Wilmington Park Elementary School last year, Los Angeles police announced Friday.

Damian Ulysses Martinez, 21, and Gabriel Martinez, 19, were arrested Tuesday in connection with the December 2021 shooting that killed Alexander Alvarado, said LAPD Capt. Adrian Gonzalez. The boy’s stepmother, Evelyn Romero, was also wounded in the shooting and a 9-year-old girl was also struck on the school playground.

Alexander, his stepmother and 10-year-old brother were sitting in a parked SUV at the intersection of North Blinn Avenue and East Denni Street about 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2021, when the shooting occurred, police said. A black Dodge Durango drove up and gunmen inside opened fire.

Alexander’s brother was uninjured in the shooting, police said.

The two suspects are cousins, but authorities are still unsure if there is any connection between them and Alexander’s family, Gonzalez said.

Damien Martinez was arrested at his home in Wilmington and Gabriel Martinez was arrested during a traffic stop in Long Beach, he said. The two were booked on charges of murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.


Police and Department of Homeland Security officials said the Martinez cousins are affiliated with a gang, but declined to provide further details.

“We should all be outraged that yet another life is lost far too soon due to gang violence,” said Eddy Wang, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security’s investigations office in Los Angeles. “This reckless disregard for human life exhibited by these violent thugs needs to stop.”