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One Slain, One Stabbed, Five Arrested At Debuts Of Eddie Murphy Film

December 19, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Disturbances broke out at three theaters premiering Eddie Murphy’s new film, ″Raw,″ leaving one man shot to death, another stabbed and five college students under arrest.

The movie, which opened Friday night, features the comedian and film star doing an obscenity-laced, stand-up routine that spoofs homosexuals, women, television’s Mr. T and Bill Cosby, among others.

Raymond Espinoza, 21, of Compton was killed late Friday when he got into a fist fight with another man near the snack bar at a drive-in in suburban Paramount, said sheriff’s Deputy Bill Wehner.

The assailant pulled a handgun and shot Espinoza once in the chest, then disappeared into a crowd, Wehner said. Investigators believe the shooting may have been gang-related, sheriff’s Lt. Michael Kenyon said Saturday.

A 27-year-old Pasadena man was in stable condition Saturday at Huntington Memorial Hospital after being stabbed during a disturbance at a theater in suburban Monrovia.

The 50 to 60 rioters, who began fighting in the lobby then moved the melee outside, were believed to be gang members, said police Lt. Patrick Hardy. But police said they had no evidence that the victim, identified as Emmanuel Mallet, belonged to a gang.

In Westwood Village, five college students were arrested when police said they were called in to help disperse a crowd of about 1,500 milling around a theater.

Theater operators had stopped the movie and ordered the theater cleared when the crowd became unruly. Those leaving the theater, some trying to get refunds, joined several hundred others waiting to get in for the next show.

The theater canceled the late showing of ″Raw″ because of the incident.

Four of those arrested were football players at the University of Southern California, which is scheduled to play Michigan State in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. All five were released on cash bail on personal recognizance bonds.

USC football Coach Larry Smith said in a statement that the arrests would be investigated, ″but based on what I know at this time, I don’t consider it to be a serious matter.

″No team rules were broken and alcohol was not involved. I believe they were simply victims of circumstance,″ he said.

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