Southern California breaking news and trends

Gang member sentenced for killing baby in Van Nuys three years ago

LAPD via streetgangs.com

Ricardo Hernandez

Justice has been a long time coming in the case of Andrew Garcia, a 4-month-old infant shot dead outside a Van Nuys home in 2009.

But today the baby boy’s killer, 26-year-old Ricardo Hernandez, was sentenced by a judge to eight consecutive life sentences plus 125 years, the county DA’s Office announced.

Hernandez, a member of the notorious Blythe Street Gang, was convicted by a jury on April 16 of first-degree murder, six counts of attempted murder and several gang and other enhancements, leading to a sentence that guarantees he will die in prison.

An accomplice in the shooting, Alfonzo Landa of Panorama City, pleaded no contest last year to voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

According to police, on Sept. 27, 2009, Hernandez and Landa approached a gathering on the 14300 block of Kittridge Street where people were celebrating Andrew’s baptism. Andrew’s babysitter, 28-year-old Anna Contreras, was feeding him inside a car.

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'Jump Out Boys' investigation: 7 sheriff's deputies placed on leave

Los Angeles County Sheriff insignia.

Photo vis conner395 via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles County Sheriff insignia.

Seven deputies suspected of belonging to an aggressive, secret faction inside the Los Angeles County sheriff's gang unit have been placed on leave, sources confirmed to the L.A. Times on Wednesday.

Suspected members of the clique, the "Jump Out Boys," are said to celebrate shootings and have matching tattoos that are modified based on specific activities. 

The design of the tattoo, confirmed by two sources to the newspaper, reportedly includes an oversize skull with a wide, toothy grimace and glowing red eyes.

The recent discovery of a document, which led to the investigation, suggests "the group embraces shootings as a badge of honor," it was previously reported

One deputy reportedly came forward to admit association with the clique and named others involved.

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'Jump Out Boys' sheriff's clique may have glorified shootings with tattoos

Los Angeles County Sheriff insignia.

Photo vis conner395 via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles County Sheriff insignia.

The investigation into the "Jump Out Boys," thought to be a secret clique of aggressive deputies within the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, has turned up allegations that group members "had matching tattoos of a gun-toting skeleton, which deputies would modify to celebrate their involvement in a shooting," says the L.A. Times.

Per the Times:

  • The design of the tattoo, confirmed by two sources, includes an oversize skull with a wide, toothy grimace and glowing red eyes.
  • A bandanna wraps around the skull, imprinted with the letters "OSS" -- representing Operation Safe Streets, the name of the larger unit that the Gang Enforcement Team is part of.
  • A bony hand clasps a revolver. Investigators suspect that smoke is tattooed over the gun's barrel after a member is involved in a shooting. 
  • To the left of the skull are two playing cards -- an ace and an eight -- apparently an allusion to the "dead man's hand" in poker, sources said.

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'Jump Out Boys' investigated as secret clique inside LASD gang unit

Los Angeles County Sheriff insignia.

Photo vis conner395 via Flickr Creative Commons

There are concerns about cliques of aggressive deputies within the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and a new faction called the Jump Out Boys is being investigated.

The discovery of a document suggests "the group embraces shootings as a badge of honor," was recently discovered, reports the L.A. Times. Not much is known about the behavior or membership into the Jump Out Boys, and sources emphasized that internal affairs is still in its early stages.

It is believed that the investigation will focus on the department's Gang Enforcement Team -- a unit subdivided into two platoons of deputies who reportedly work with a substantial amount of autonomy. The units target violent neighborhoods where gang incidents and intimidation are a concern.

Sheriff's Department officials said internal cliques have been accused of fostering agressive, gang-like mentality and behavior among its members.

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Gang member convicted in shotgun death of infant, attempted murder of 6 others

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Los Angeles gang member Ricardo Hernandez was convicted Monday of first-degree murder for the shotgun killing of a 4-month-old, and the attempted murders of six other people. The 26-year-old is facing 200 years to life in prison.

The infant, Andrew Garcia, was killed as he was being fed in the front seat of a parked car in the San Fernando Valley, following a verbal confrontation near the vehicle, say prosecutors. Two others were wounded in the 2009 attack. 

Hernandez was captured one year after the incident, after fleeing to Mexico. He was located in the state of Jalisco and was returned to the US.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 31.

 

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner

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