Suspect Arrested in Connection with Murder of 4-Year-Old

LAPD Scheduled to Hold 5 a.m. News Conference to Release Details

Late Thursday night Los Angeles Police announced they had arrested a suspect in conneciton with the shooting death
of 4-year-old Roberto Lopez, Jr..  Police did not release any details about the arrest.

The child was murdered Tuesday afternoon in the 1200 block of West Court Street in a neighborhood just south of Angelino Heights. 

LAPD issued a news release that they intend to release details of the murder at a 5 a.m. news conference to be held Friday by Chief Sergio Diaz, LAPD Capt. John Egan and detectives from the Rampart Station.   The news conference will be held at the Rampart Area Community Police Station, at 1401 West 6th St. 

Initially police sought the public's help today to identify suspected gang members involved in a confrontation that led to at least one of them opening fire, fatally striking a 4-year-old boy standing on a sidewalk just south of Angelino Heights.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the occupants of a red compact vehicle, possibly a Toyota Scion, were involved in an altercation with several male pedestrians at the crest of the hill several hundred feet north of Court Street on Bixel Street, according to police.
Those on foot then "began shooting at the red vehicle as it sped away southbound on Bixel Street and then westbound on Court Street," police said.

A bullet likely intended for the occupants of the vehicle struck the little boy in the chest while he was on the sidewalk on Court Street, police said. The boy was walking with his sister to a community center two doors down from their home when he was killed.

The child's grandfather, Serafin Gonzalez, told the Los Angeles Times that his family was just about to sit down for dinner and call the children inside when they heard gunshots.

Gonzalez's granddaughter then rushed into the home screaming, "They hit Robert! They hit Robert!," he told The Times, adding that he first thought the children had gotten into a playful scuffle.

He told The Times that his granddaughter then cried, "There's blood in his mouth," prompting the boy's grandfather to rush outside.   "I cleaned the blood from his mouth so he wouldn't choke," he told The Times. "I'm trying not to remember that moment. It's pain you just can't bear."
The boy later died at Children's Hospital, police said.

The suspects were all described as Latinos with shaved heads, and the shooting appears to have been gang-related, police said.
A charitable fund known as the Roberto Lopez Jr. Memorial Fund has been established to assist the Lopez family and is being managed by Wells Fargo Bank. Those wishing to make donations can go to any Wells Fargo Bank and submit a check, money order or cash. Also, donors who are Wells Fargo customers may transfer funds directly. Questions about the fund can be directed to the
offices of Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes at (213) 485-0763. 

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