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Cleveland High School stabbing suspects are documented gang members

April 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles police arrested three suspects in connection to the stabbing death of an 18-year-old at Cleveland High School. Investigators say two of those suspects are documented gang members.

Police said social media helped lead to the arrests of a 16-year-old boy and 19-year-old Michael Steven Carpio of Panorama City. The two were arrested early Thursday morning and booked for murder. Authorities say the two are confirmed gang members.

Officials also arrested 19-year-old Michelle Pineda, alleging that she drove the getaway vehicle following the stabbing.

Witnesses told police that the victim, 18-year-old Kevin Orellano, was playing handball on the school's courts when two suspects approached him. A brief argument took place and one suspect punched Orellano in the face. The second suspect joined the fight and allegedly stabbed Orellano in the torso with a small pocket knife, police said.

"It started off as your typical fight, fist fight - a lot of punches being thrown - and later found the victim laying there with a lot of blood," said a witness who did not want to be identified.

The incident happened just before 4 p.m. Wednesday on the campus located at 8140 Vanalden Avenue.

Police say they do not believe there was a relationship between the victim and the suspects and are calling this a crime of circumstance.

"Unfortunately, very many bad situations start with the conversation of where you're from. That's what happened in this situation," said LAPD Cmdr. Dennis Ballas.

The school was full of student athletes at practice at the time. The suspects ran from the scene and several students ran after them.

Witnesses said the suspects jumped over a fence and one ran away while the other got into a minivan. They said the suspects did not attend the school.

Orellano was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. He was a former student at Cleveland High School and was last enrolled in the fall. He reportedly frequented the school to play handball.

Parents dropping off their kids at the school Thursday said the crime is frightening but unusual for the area.

It is unknown what exactly sparked the fight. Anyone with information was asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department's West Valley Community Police Station at (818) 374-7611.


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