Double murder suspect arrested in Compton-area gang shooting that killed father, 2-year-old daughter

Ashley Mackey Image
Friday, November 3, 2023
Murder suspect arrested in Compton-area shooting of father, daughter
A double murder suspect has been arrested in connection with the fatal Compton-area shooting of a 25-year-old father and his 2-year-old daughter in 2001, authorities said.

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A double murder suspect has been arrested in connection with the fatal Compton-area shooting of a 25-year-old father and his 2-year-old daughter in 2001, authorities said Friday.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Jahon Terez Smith, also known as "Quant," has been charged in multiple shootings that year.

Smith, 47, has been charged with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder.

"The special circumstance of multiple murder is alleged," said the DA's office in a statement. "It also is alleged that the attempted murders were committed willfully, deliberately and with premeditation, and that in the commission of the crimes, the defendant personally used a handgun."

The innocent victims, Stephen Murphy and his daughter Kali Murphy, were gunned down in the 13100 block of Willowbrook Avenue on Aug. 8, 2001.

Investigators said they were killed amid a spree of gang violence that was prompted by the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man in Compton the previous night.

Richard Lawrence was shot in the 2000 of North Grape Avenue; the motive for his killing was believed to have been "an ongoing war at the time'' between a pair of rival street gangs, authorities said.

The following night, five separate drive-by shootings occurred in what L.A. County Sheriff's Department Lt. Hugo Reynaga said were believed to be retaliation for the killing of Lawrence.

"Although Wednesday was definitely a good day for Stephen and Kali's family, as well as for investigators, it was not a great day. This case is not over by any means," said Reynaga during a press conference on Friday.

The shootings began in the 13300 block of Largo Avenue, where a victim suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to the head and shoulder. A short time later, a non-injury shooting occurred in the 2300 block of Lucien Street.

A third shooting then occurred in the 13100 block of Willowbrook Avenue, where Murphy and Kali were struck by gunfire.

Authorities said the pair were visiting the girl's grandmother at the time, and Murphy was getting ready to put his daughter in the back seat of his car when the shooting erupted. Murphy tried to run into the house, but was shot on the front porch.

The girl was struck in the head with a bullet and died at a hospital, authorities said.

Another shooting occurred a short time later in the 2000 block of West 131st Street, where a 15-year-old boy suffered a graze wound to the head, Reynaga said.

After that, a sheriff's deputy came under fire, but was not struck, in the 1900 block of North Anzac Avenue.

"Let this also be a reminder to all that who believe that they can evade the arm of the law, that no matter how long and how much time passes, we will never stop pursuing justice on behalf of the victims and their families," said Gascón.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500 or (323) 697-7327. Information can also be provided anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

Smith is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 29. If convicted as charged, Smith will face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.