Police have made arrests in October 2010's murder of Jeffrey Lee Chung, an Irvine 23-year-old who was shot to death outside a bar in the Artists Village area of Santa Ana that civic leaders have tried for years to turn into a safe and popular mecca for nightlife.
Two teenagers who were 14 and 15 at the time of the slaying–and still are not being identified because they remain minors–were booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of murder and armed robbery, according to Santa Ana Police.
Chung and a friend left a bar to fetch
something from a car in the parking structure near the 200 block of West Third Street around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2010, when they were confronted by two males who demanded
their wallets, pointing a gun for emphasis. A struggle ensued, Chung's friend broke free but Chung was shot in his upper body. He later died at a local hospital.
The shooting shook up the Artists Village, which the city has
tried to market as a safe place to frequent restaurants, art
galleries and bars such as Proof, Memphis, Lola Gaspar and The Crosby. Indeed, some merchants feared publicity of the slaying may keep patrons away, prompting police to step up foot and bicycle patrols.
As for Chung's killers, all homicide detectives had to go on was a vague description of two young Hispanic men. But in the ensuing months, word spread that two teens were bragging about a string of local armed robberies and the murder. That culminated in a tip passed on to investigators and the recent arrests.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.