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Boy, 13, is fatally shot near Santa Ana High School

He was crossing the street in a group when someone approached, demanded to know his gang affiliation and opened fire when he didn’t answer, police say.
By Tony Barboza and Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
September 11, 2008

A 13-year-old boy was fatally shot Wednesday afternoon near Santa Ana High School in what detectives are investigating as a gang-related attack, the Santa Ana Police Department said.

The victim, whose name was not released, was crossing the street in a group at Walnut and Flower streets about 3:10 p.m. when someone in another group of teenagers approached and demanded to know his gang affiliation, said Cpl. Jose Gonzalez.

When the boy didn’t answer, he was shot multiple times in the upper torso, police said. The boy was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 4:48 p.m. Police did not disclose the name of the hospital for what they said were safety reasons.

The shooting occurred about 20 minutes after classes had let out for the day and while crowds of students were walking home, neighbors said.

No one else was hurt, and no arrests had been made by Wednesday evening. Gonzalez said he didn’t believe the victim attended Santa Ana High.

Gonzalez said that although there were many people in the area, descriptions of the attacker were vague. He said officers had talked to several witnesses but were “scouring the neighborhood” looking for others who had scattered.

Berta Estrada, who lives down the block from the shooting scene, said she came out of her house when she heard eight to 10 sounds that she thought were firecrackers.

“I left because I wanted to know who was setting off fireworks,” she said.

Estrada said a lot of young people walk around outside the high school in the early afternoon and sometimes they get into fights. “The police are here a lot,” she said.

The intersection remained blocked to traffic late into the afternoon. A crowd of onlookers gathered at a nearby convenience store.

Rick Flores, who lives two houses from the intersection, said he ran outside after he heard the shots for fear it was a child he knew. When he reached the victim, he said, there was a lot of blood and he couldn’t tell if the teen was alive, nor did he recognize him.

“He was just a kid,” Flores said.

Gang shootings, he said, have been a recurring problem in the neighborhood, which is just blocks from Santa Ana City Hall.

“Kids were always getting into fights in the street and the alley after school,” he said. “It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.”

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