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.