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New charges filed in Mother's Day shooting that left two teens dead in South L.A.

New charges filed in Mother's Day shooting that left two teens dead in South L.A.
Family and friends of Monyae Jackson and La'marrion Upchurch are on hand for the announcement of further charges in the 2018 Mother's Day shooting. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against two additional suspects — including the alleged gunman — in a shooting that left two 15-year-old boys dead and two other teens wounded on Mother’s Day in South Los Angeles.

Nancy Joanna De La Rocha, 27, and Edwin Federico Loza, 19, were each charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with a shooting that claimed the lives of La’marrion Upchurch and Monyae Jackson, both 15-year-old Long Beach residents, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

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Prosecutors say Loza opened fire shortly before 1:30 a.m. on May 13, striking La’marrion, Monyae and two other teenagers in the 300 block of West Manchester Avenue in Florence.

La’marrion died at the scene, and Monyae died in an area hospital two days later. The other teens’ injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

De La Rocha and Loza were expected to make their first appearances in a downtown L.A. courtroom on Tuesday, but the hearing was continued until next month, said Paul Eakins, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. In June, 19-year-old Christian Ivan Macias was arrested and charged in connection with the slayings. He pleaded not guilty earlier this year. Charges were filed against De La Rocha on Sept. 20 and Loza on Nov. 16, prosecutors said.

Attempts to contact attorneys for De La Rocha, Loza and Macias were unsuccessful Tuesday morning. The defendants could get life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether they will seek the death penalty.

LAPD Det. Oscar Villarreal, the lead investigator on the case, said Tuesday that police think all of those involved in the killings have now been arrested. Loza, De La Rocha and Macias are all members of the 18th Street Gang, police said, and may have thought the victims were members of the rival Hoover Criminals street gang.

None of the shooting victims, however, were gang members, according to Villareal, who declined to say whether a weapon had been recovered.

At a news conference earlier this year, Kevonte Watkins described his younger brother, Monyae, as a bright, intelligent teen who liked to make people laugh.

“He gave me the inspiration to be the positive role model in his life,” Watkins said.

Relatives earlier this year said some of the victims, including Monyae, were placed in handcuffs after the shooting. The Los Angeles Police Department reviewed the body-worn camera footage from the scene and determined Monyae had not actually been handcuffed, said Josh Rubenstein, the department’s chief spokesman.

The surviving victims had walked away from the scene after the shooting, and were briefly handcuffed and detained when they returned after officers arrived, according to Rubenstein, who said no officers were found to have done anything wrong.

Times staff writer Nicole Santa Cruz contributed to this report.

9:36 p.m.: This article was updated with additional comments from the LAPD.

11:35 a.m.: This article was updated with the possible penalty if the defendants are convicted.

11:05 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from an LAPD detective.

This article was originally published at 10:30 a.m.

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