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Racial motivation in Canoga Park murder?

January 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It is a shocking crime in which an African-American man was allegedly murdered because of his race, and two men and a juvenile are under arrest.Canoga Bowl is a place for fun, but that all changed three nights before Christmas. James Shamp, a beloved employee, was murdered.

"My heart felt like somebody put a stake through it," said Shamp's friend Ellen Eckard. "And I just -- I still can't believe it."

Shamp was emptying trash when he was allegedly targeted by the Canoga Park Alabama Gang. The reason: He was black.

"A vehicle pulled up, with no words exchanged between any parties, they just opened fire and shot Mr. Shamp for no reason at all other than the color of his skin," said LAPD Detective David Peteque.

Richard Bordelon was arrested and is now in custody. His gang name is "Psycho." Martin Sotelo is known as "Outlaw," and a juvenile called "Youngster." Investigators want the adults to face the death penalty if convicted.

"It's ridiculous that people are still killing each other for what they call 'color,'" said Shemp's friend Jeff Warren. "There is no value in that. It has no meaning, all of these sad things happening to people."

The Canoga Bowl bowling alley sits in the middle of what the gang claims is their turf. Investigators say the so-called CPAs have a long tradition of attacking black people, men and women. In an 18-month period four years ago they counted 26 incidents -- stabbings, beatings, shootings, all racially motivated.

Targeted by a gang injunction, the CPAs are called one of 10 the worst in Los Angeles because of their hate crimes. One member made a police most-wanted list.

Officials say to make more arrests, they need more tips from the community and for parents to watch their children.

"If your child is in a gang, get them out quick, because if not, the police department is going to get them out for you," said L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine.

Jeff Warren says he does all he can to avoid trouble. But so did James Shamp.

"Until we all embrace each other and be happy and treat each other as humans, God can only help us," said Warren.


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