In Case You Didn’t Know: It’s Totally Perfectly Legal to Kill Anybody in L.A. While Firing A Gun In Self Defense (Updated)

Especially If You’re A Gangbanger And Your Victim Is A 9-Year-Old Bystander Standing In Her Kitchen.

There are so many aspects of this story that are driving me nuts, but it’s this paragraph in today’s L.A. Times article on the release of suspects Cesar Zamora and Steven Castanon arrested after the Dec. 20 gang-related shooting at 830 E. Kensington in Angelino Heights that killed 9-year-old Charupha Wongwisetsiri that gets me the most:

Police released the men without filing charges after determining that Zamora or Castanon fired the shot that killed Charupha in self-defense when a rival gang member pulled up in a car and tried to shoot them in front of their apartment complex next to Charupha’s home.

Did you get that? To the police there is absolutely no question that one of these men fired the weapon that sent the bullet through the Wongwitsetseri home and into Charupha’s head — hell the duo probably admitted to it. And yet law enforcement officials say their hands are tied and they can’t even bring so much as a manslaughter charge against them. At best they say they can charge them with maybe a probation or weapons violation, but it seems they won’t even do that.

So instead prosecutors are attempting to build a case against the presumably still-at-large banger who caused Zamora or Castanon to fire their guns. But here’s the rub: the shooter they were defending themselves against? His gun allegedly jammed and he never got off a single shot.

The article sites experts who make the requisite legal argument in regards to self defense and collateral damage that stems from it being unfortunate unintended and entirely defensible consequence. Well, that may be true. But there is something very wrong with a world that will allow children to die and their killers to walk entirely free. Read the article for yourself. And weep.

UPDATED (1/18): There’s a day-later LAPD damage-control follow-up piece buried in today’s Times in which department and district attroney officials reveal how the about-face of a witness and the fact that the guns are still unrecovered have made have made the case a difficult one.

4 Replies to “In Case You Didn’t Know: It’s Totally Perfectly Legal to Kill Anybody in L.A. While Firing A Gun In Self Defense (Updated)”

  1. I live in the townhouse complex where Charupha (Zsa-Zsa was her nickname) was killed. The thing that really gets me is that this is the SECOND gang-related shooting coming from the SAME house in two years. The government and the police did not do anything after the last drive-by shooting. What will it take for the police or the LA city government to finally intervene and help out the community? Clearly, even the death of an innocent little girl isn’t even enough. The article stated that the house was slated as a potential “nuisance” but nothing ever happened. Now, that house still looks as decrepit as ever and, for all I know, the same gun-toting gang-bangers may be moving back in. Poor Zsa-Zsa’s death was in vain and the community is no safer as a result. I don’t even walk my dog at night anymore.

    BTW, Zsa-Zsa was the sweetest girl ever and loved playing outside in the front yard (as all kids should be able to). Her innocent death cannot be labeled as anything but a tragedy.

  2. This is just disgusting… and I really can’t even find words for it. The more I think about it, even though I am not a gun owner or proponent, I think that we should all be able to carry concealed weapons and use them whenever we feel threatened. (No, I don’t really mean that, it’s just a reaction to this tragedy). We’ve lived so long in a permissive society that sees street crime as a “problem” instead of what it really is – a total threat to our very lives. When a 9 year old girl is gunned down like that there is no discussion that makes sense. It’s all off the table. What’s next? Marshal law??? Seriously, we’re edging closer and closer to that kind of thing… and it totally sucks.

  3. I am a gun owner and a proponent of shall issue CCW issuance for personal defence, provided the applicant can pass a background check and meet training requirements.

    Despite the fact that police would love to be able to be there ahead of time to prevent things like this from happening, they are not gifted with the ability to predict the future. In fact, the Supreme court found that “it is a fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.” Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981).

    This means that it is up to the general public to take responsibility to protect themselves BEFORE they become victims of crime.

    In California, you can get a Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) Permit. Some counties are pretty liberal about issuance, some, like LA County, are more interested in protecting the rights of Gang Bangers than 9 year old daughters.

    As Citizens it is time for you to Challenge Baca’s policy of issuing to Campaign Contributors and Scientologists, and start demanding that he issue to the common citizen.

  4. CCW’s are a fruitful debate topic, but how on earth would a CCW have prevented this tragic death? The victim was in her home and presumably totally unaware of the gun battle raging outside. Whose CCW here would have saved the day?

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