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US Attorney probes Compton hate crime case

January 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The U.S. Attorney's Office will determine whether three suspects arrested on suspicion of a hate crime in Compton should be prosecuted on a federal level.

Jeffrey Aguilar, 19, of Compton, and Efren Marquez, 21, of Riverside County, along with a juvenile, were arrested Thursday for trying to intimidate an African-American family into moving away from their Compton home. The three Latino gang members chased home one of the sons on Dec. 31. The family had just moved into their home on 153rd Street.

"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.

Investigators said the three Latinos beat a friend of the family with a pipe before calling on nearly 20 alleged gang members to target the family's home.

Members of the family said a beer bottle smashed through the mother's bedroom window.

In another incident, investigators said the three suspects in custody beat a friend of the family with a pipe.

The detectives are still seeking the public's help to identify others in the mob.

Local leaders are calling for cooperation from the community and federal prosecutors.

"This will not be tolerated whether the victim be black, brown, African American, nor Latino," said Compton Councilwoman Janna Zurita.

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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