Suspects arrested in murder of L.B. teen

LONG BEACH, Calif. Hundreds of students and members of the Wilson High School football team gathered on campus Wednesday night to remember Melody, a star athlete and honor student who was gunned down after Friday night's homecoming game.

While they lit candles and pondered the tragic loss of their friend, police officials announced the arrest of two reputed gang members, a 16-year-old male from Long Beach and a 16-year-old male from Bellflower, in connection with Melody's murder.

The names of the suspects were not released. Police said the two minors arrested did not attend Wilson High School or Polytechnic High School.

Police say two groups of rival gang members were in the crowd of about 500 when the football game was letting out. Shots were fired into the crowd, wounding two young men, ages 18 and 20, and killing Melody.

"By all accounts Melody was an innocent bystander, not the intended victim, no gang involvement," said Long Beach Police Deputy Chief Bill Blair.

For Melody's family, their loss is overwhelming. Her parents are Cambodian refugees who came to Long Beach to achieve the American dream.

They were at police headquarters when the announcement came that their daughter's suspected killers had been caught.

"She promised her mom that she wanted to be somebody to help her mom out, she told her mom she wanted to go to Stanford and if she can't make it there, she'll go to USC," said Chanthy Che, Melody's uncle.

It's a senseless crime that has rocked the entire community.

"The accessibility to these instruments of death by young children -- it is a child killed, one of our children," said Long Beach City Councilmember Suja Lowenthal.

Long Beach police said only six witnesses came forward after Friday's shooting. It is believed there are more witnesses, and police are looking for additional suspects.

If you have information related to this case, please call the Long Beach Police Department at (562) 570-7244.

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