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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Four Redlands Latino gang members arrested in double homicide

09:09 |

Three members of a Redlands Latino gang have been arrested and charged with murder in the shooting deaths of two Redlands teenagers and wounding of two others on the evening of Jan. 5, 2011, police said in a news conference Monday. The three suspects have been charged as adults with first-degree murder and special allegations, police said. A 28-year-old man was charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Relatives of the slain and wounded teens attended the news conference at Redlands City Hall where the arrests were announced, and some gasped as the suspects’ names were read. Shanita Williams McCaleb, Quinn McCaleb’s mother, said she recognized Adrian Powers’ name, but did not know him. She had heard her son and his friends talking about “all the altercations and problems occurring with this individual,” she said. She said she still had confidence that police would make arrests in the case, even after the first-year anniversary of the killings came and went. “I never gave up the faith that we would be here,” McCaleb said. “These boys were loved too much for it to go unsolved. I had faith in that.” Charged with murder are Anthony John Legaspi, 18, John David Salazar, 22, and Adrian Powers, 18, all of Redlands. If convicted of all charges, including enhancements of using a firearm and committing a crime to benefit a criminal street gang, they each could be sentenced to as much as 220 years to life in prison, officials said. The felony complaint states that Legaspi fired the gun that killed Quinn McCaleb, 17, and Andrew Jackson, 16, and wounded two of their friends. A fifth teenager escaped uninjured when the teens were attacked while walking through a playground at a north Redlands apartment complex. Legaspi and Powers were 16 at the time but are being charged as adults, San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said Monday. Jose Lara, 28, also of Redlands, was charged with accessory after the fact of first-degree murder because he hid Legaspi and helped him avoid arrest, the felony complaint states. All four men could be sent to state prison because all have prior convictions for serious, violent felonies, court documents state. Bail for Legaspi, Powers and Salazar was set at $5 million each, and $2.5 million for Lara. All except Powers were being held at the West Valley Detention Center on Monday. Powers, who just turned 18, was initially detained at Juvenile Hall but was to be transferred to West Valley, said Chris Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office. Information about their arraignment was unavailable Monday, Lee said. The four were arrested last Thursday, police said. Police declined to identify the gang. Redlands Police Chief Mark Garcia said the suspects lived in the general vicinity of the shooting. Garcia, who became chief six months after the shootings, said police have long had a pretty good idea of what happened. “It just took a little time to put the pieces together,” he said. McCaleb said she was grateful that police and district attorney’s investigators were painstaking in developing the case. “I’m just hoping that they have dotted all their i’s and crossed all the t’s and that therefore they (the suspects) will be off the streets and not able to ever do this to anyone else ever again,” she said. The early evening shooting shocked Redlands’ residents and led nearly 1,000 people to turn out for a prayer walk in the neighborhood a week later. Garcia held a news conference last August in the apartment complex playground to say that police had exhausted their leads and needed someone to come forward with information. He released an updated sketch of the suspect, a Hispanic male wearing a hoodie. Both Williams and Gail Howard, whose son, Jordan, was shot but has recovered, said Monday that they had premonitions that arrests were imminent. “I’m not saying I’m psychic, but I had a gut feeling this was going to happen,” an elated Howard said. “Tomorrow is Jordan’s birthday.”

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