UPDATE, SEPT. 12, 8:16 A.M.: Charged as an adult last year at the ripe young age of 14--the lowest age allowed under law--Andrew Cervantes was convicted last week of second degree murder and gang sentencing enhancements for gunning down Manuel Raul Orozco, 17, steps from his Santa Ana home and Friendship Park.
Now 15, Cervantes is looking at the possibility of 40 years to life in state prison at his Oct. 6 sentencing hearing in Santa Ana.
Cervantes and a pal were riding bikes on Sullivan Street near Willits Street on June 22, 2010, when he got in the stare down with Orozco. Cervantes pulled out a handgun and fired a fatal shot at Orozco.
Whatever prison sentence Cervantes receives, he will serve his time at the Orange County Youth Authority until he turns 18, at which time he will be transferred to a state prison.
ORIGINAL UPDATED POST, JULY 1, 2010, 10:49 A.M.: Manuel Raul Orozco, 17, was just steps from his Santa Ana home about 5:30 p.m. June 22 when he was approached by two younger teens on bicycles.
A gun was whipped out, a shot was fired into Orozco's upper torso, and there--near the same Willits and South Sullivan streets corner where Lincoln Elementary School and Friendship Park are located--Orozco took his last breath.
One 14-year-old boy was arrested at his Santa Ana home Friday on suspicion of murdering Orozco. A second was arrested on the same charge at his Stockton home by U.S. Marshals on Tuesday. Neither has been identified because of their ages.
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But they have been identified another way: police say both belonged to the same street gang. The Stockton teen had been reported a runaway by his parents, according to cops.
So, while Orozco had no apparent gang ties nor criminal record, his death is being classified as the fourth gang-related murder in Santa Ana this year.
Take note of that, Santa Ana: not only are your gang-bangers getting younger, but they are having no problem getting ahold of guns--even at age 14, even as runaways.
It's going to be a long summer.