[UPDATED:] Juan Carlos Rodriguez, OC Homicide No. 2: 16-Year-Old Gang-Shooting Victim
Suspect photos courtesy of Tustin Police Department

[UPDATED:] Juan Carlos Rodriguez, OC Homicide No. 2: 16-Year-Old Gang-Shooting Victim


[UPDATED:] Juan Carlos Rodriguez, OC Homicide No. 2: 16-Year-Old Gang-Shooting Victim
Suspect photos courtesy of Tustin Police Department

Arrested in the murder of 16-year-old Juan Carlos Rodriguez, who was gunned down around 2 a.m. Jan. 10 in Tustin and is shown at bottom right, are (clockwise from top left): John Saway; David Escobar; Pablo Kachirisky; Steven Kao; (skip over the victim); Ravy Nhem; Sarith Yin; and the latest arrestee, Ruon Phi Keo.

You really do need a scorecard to follow this killing, which apparently stemmed from verbal taunting that broke out between members of the Cambodian Tiny Rascal Gang and a gang of taggers who just happened to be partying in houses a few blocks from one another on Myrtle Avenue in Tustin.

When Nhem, 20, and Kachirisky, 21, both Tiny Rascal Gang members from Santa Ana, walked by the taggers party, they were asked about their gang affiliation, according to police.

Largely outnumbered, the pair reportedly went to a nearby liquor store and called for reinforcements. Among those who arrived were Kao, 21, of Santa Ana, and Escobar, 20, of Murrieta, say police.

Guns were whipped out, bullets rained and Rodriguez, who'd been partying with the taggers, was apparently struck in the crossfire.

Noise from the gunfire produced shooting calls to Tustin Police, who arrived on the scene and found blood but no shooting victim. An anonymous call about 4 a.m. led officers there to an apartment in the 15400 block of Myrtle, where they discovered the body of Rodriguez, shot dead.

Police now say unidentified members of the gang of taggers dragged Rodriguez to the apartment after he was shot but did not seek medical attention, calling authorities about his location two hours later.

Nhem, Kachirisky, Kao, Escobar and Belinda Vu, 19, of Anaheim, were quickly apprehended and held on suspicion of murder. Charges against Vu were later dropped, but Karrina Hernandez, 21, of Tustin, was later arrested on suspicion of accessory to murder and released.

Nhem, Kachirisky, Kao and Escobar have also been charged with street terrorism and sentencing enhancements that make them eligible for the death penalty, according to Tustin police.

At the time of his arrest, Nhem was out on $100,000 bail in connection with a Dec. 5 arrest on suspicion of lewd contact with a minor, according to the Orange County Register

Santa Ana residents and Tiny Rascals Gang members Saway, 25, and Yin, 22, were later picked up in Long Beach and charged with murder, street terrorism and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, as well as sentencing enhancements for a gang member discharging a firearm causing death, criminal street gang activity, and murder committed for a street gang purpose.

The Register reports they, took, have a history of crime.

After searching Keo's Santa Ana home Friday and reportedly finding three firearms, police arrested the 26-year-old at his job in Anaheim.

He has been charged with murder and possession of a deadly weapon with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and discharging a firearm as a gang member. He is scheduled to be arraigned on March 26.

Keo also belongs to the Tiny Rascals, according to police.

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