Arrest Made in Gang Ambush of 3-Year-Old
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A gang member on parole for manslaughter was jailed today in the slaying of a 3-year-old killed when the car she was riding in took a wrong turn onto a gang-infested dead-end street.
Vincent Caldera, 23, a reputed member of the ``Avenues″ street gang, was arrested late Wednesday at his home near the shooting scene, Police Chief Willie Williams said. He was jailed for investigation of murder.
Police hope to arrest several others associated with the gang, Williams said.
Caldera, booked on one count of murder and five counts of attempted murder, ``is viewed in the community as one of the most vicious, vile members of the Avenues gang,″ Williams said.
He said Caldera had bargained an earlier murder case down to manslaughter and served three years in prison before his release.
``Hopefully, he won’t be able to negotiate his way down to a manslaughter and parole this time,″ Williams said.
A SWAT team served a search warrant at 1 a.m. today at Caldera’s home on Isabel Drive, the street where the shooting occurred Sunday. Williams declined to comment on what was found at the yellow stucco house with a rusting horse trailer in the yard.
The slain girl, Stephanie Kuhen, was in a car returning from a barbecue early Sunday when the driver strayed onto the dead-end street in the Cypress Park neighborhood. In an unprovoked attack, the car was surrounded by street thugs who blocked the driver’s way out and opened fire.
The driver of the car, Timothy Stone,
and Stephanie’s younger brother, 2-year-old Joseph, were wounded.
Williams said Caldera was believed to be one of those who had fired shots.
Caldera’s girlfriend, Nora Carillo, 17, said she has receipts and will soon have photos to prove they were in Northern California all weekend. Ms. Carillo said Caldera, the father of a baby she is expecting in January, cried when she spoke to him after his arrest.
``We were out of town when all of this happened, and they’re trying to say he killed this little girl,″ she told reporters outside his home.