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Athlete from Fiji killed in Northern California

June 14, 2014

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — A runner from Fiji was killed in a gang shooting in Northern California just weeks before he was set to attend the University of Louisiana, friends and authorities said.

Roy Ravana Jr. and another man, Kevin Ohta, were shot on Monday in Sacramento County by two juveniles who opened fire with two handguns and a rifle on behalf of the Norteno street gang, prosecutors said. The 21-year-old Ohta is expected to survive, the Sacramento Bee reported (http://bit.ly/SGpaUs).

The suspects, 17-year-old Elias Guevara and 16-year-old Rozco Gutierrez, have been charged as adults with murder and attempted murder. They were arraigned on Wednesday but did not enter pleas, Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said.

Ravana, 20, represented Fiji in the heats of the 60-meter race at the 2012 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships in Istanbul and later in the same year in the 400-meter race at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, the association said in a statement. He was also a 400-meter hurdler.

He had been selected to represent Fiji at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, had attended Iowa Central Community College under scholarship for the past year and had just been accepted by the University of Louisiana.

Athletics Fiji president Jo Rodan Senior told Radio New Zealand International that Ravana’s father “is going over Saturday to the States to bring the body back to Fiji and the funeral will be next Saturday here in Suva.”

Friends and family of Ravana said they were not aware of his involvement in any criminal activity and Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, in a statement, called him an innocent bystander. Bainimarama said he was shocked and saddened to learn of Ravana’s death.

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