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Compton hate crimes: 3 suspects arrested

January 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Three people were arrested in a hate crime investigation in Compton, and investigators need the public's help identifying more suspects.

Investigators say members of a Compton family were victims of two racist attacks. The family had just moved into their home on 153rd Street. First, Latino gang members chased home one of the sons on Dec. 31.

"They threatened him, they shouted racial epithets at him, they jumped out of a van and they beat him with pipes and pointed a gun at him and told him that he had to stay out of the neighborhood," said Sheriff's Lt. Rich Westin.

Thirty minutes later, a neighbor heard shouting at the victim's home. There were 15 to 20 male Hispanics armed with pipes, two with guns, yelling at them to come outside.

Members of the family said a beer bottle smashed through the mother's bedroom window. The kids are so scared now, they aren't going to school.

After this incident, investigators say the suspects continued to drive by the home multiple times a day, shouting racial epithets while ordering the family to leave the neighborhood.

The sheriff's department was able to arrest three suspects, including 19-year-old Jeffrey Aguilar and 21-year-old Efren Marquez. both have records of previous arrests. They are being held on $95,000 bail. The third suspect's name was not released because he is a minor.

While the suspects face a charge of committing a hate crime, detectives say the investigation is ongoing. There are more than a dozen others still on the streets who joined in on an act of terror that night.

"They're absolutely innocent people who targeted solely for their race," Westin said.

Neighbors say this block has lived in racial harmony since 2000, but the victimized family is taking no chances. After living here for just two months, they want out and are now searching for another home.

If you have any information regarding this case, you're urged to contact Sheriff's Operation Safe Streets Bureau gang investigators at (310) 603-3100 or the Compton Sheriff's Station at (310) 605-6500.


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