Jason Kandel

14-Year-Old Boy Faces Murder Charge in Gang Slaying

A 14-year-old boy was in custody Tuesday, facing a murder charge, in the gang-related shooting death of a college student outside a party in Wilmington last month.

Alex Zepeda, 19, of Wilmington was gunned down about 1:45 a.m. Oct. 28 in the 1100 block of West Cruces Street. The Cal State Fullerton sophomore died at the scene, according to the coroner's office and the Los Angeles Police Department.

The teenage suspect -- a Wilmington resident whose name was withheld because he is a juvenile -- was arrested last Thursday and is being held at the Los Padrinos juvenile detention facility in Downey, the LAPD reported.

According to police, Zepeda attended a Halloween party and had just walked across the street to join a few friends when he was hit by gunfire and collapsed on the sidewalk.

"Although this was not a gang party, there were a few gang members from rival Eastside and Westside Wilmas gangs," according to an LAPD statement. "The shooting stems from decades of rivalry between these two gangs and the boundaries which divide them."

In 2014, Zepeda, a criminal justice major, had interned for Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who took part in a news conference to announce the arrest.

"I'll never forget his amazing smile ... (Alex) enthused about trying to do right in this community," Buscaino said. "It was disgusting to know that a teenager killed another teen. I am saddened and deeply angered by the fact that our teens are killing each other over which side of the streets they live on."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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