WILMINGTON, Calif. – Two men were in custody Friday in connection with a shooting in Wilmington that left a 12-year-old boy dead and a woman and a girl injured last December.
Damian Martinez, 21, and Gabriel Martinez, 19, of Wilmington, were arrested Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The men, who are cousins, were booked on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, the LAPD reported.
The two men were charged Thursday with one count each of murder and attempted murder, along with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. They remain behind bars while awaiting arraignment Oct. 20 in a Long Beach courtroom.
The shooting occurred Dec. 6 at Denni Street and Blinn Avenue near Wilmington Park Elementary School, according to the LAPD.
Police said the suspects approached an SUV and opened fire, striking the 30-year-old driver, her 12-year-old passenger Alexander Alvarado, and a 9- year-old girl who was on the playground at the nearby school.
After the shooting, the woman in the SUV managed to drive a short distance away, stopping at North Eubank Avenue near East Anaheim Street, where she and the boy were found by authorities, police said.
Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene, while the woman and girl both survived.
The investigation was conducted by personnel from the LAPD and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
A news conference was held on Friday morning at the LAPD Harbor Station to announce the arrests.
“Today is bittersweet, as we are here to announce the arrests of two dangerous gang members that have terrorized the Wilmington area, and who we believe to be responsible the senseless murder of Alexander,” said Eddie Wang, acting special agent-in-charge of Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles.
“It is our sincere hope that these arrests will be one step closer for the family in the healing process.” Wang said.
Alexander’s mother, Jenny Romero, said last year the wounded woman — her wife — and Alexander had just picked up Romero’s 10-year-old son from school. The younger boy was in the SUV when the shooting occurred, but was not injured. Romero said two people “popped out of nowhere” and one of them opened fire at the SUV.
“My wife (saw) his face, and she said he actually looked like my son, looked like a kid. So a kid shooting a kid,” Romero told NBC4 at the time.
A motive for the shooting was not known, according to the LAPD.