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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Carlos Lopez, alleged Westside gang member was ordered held Wednesday to face charges

alleged Westside gang member was ordered held Wednesday to face charges in a bus stop shooting last year that left one man dead and the man's cousin wounded.
Carlos Lopez, 32, targeted what appeared to be rival gang members - two men dressed in red clothing - at a downtown bus stop last year, say San Bernardino police. One of the men, 23-year-old Bobby Brookins, died. However, a witness at the same bus stop did not identify Lopez as the shooter in photo lineup and told a detective he thought the shooter may have been black because his voice lacked an accent. After listening to testimony from several witnesses, Judge Douglas Gericke ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold over Lopez to face charges at trial. The ruling came during a preliminary hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court. Lopez returns to court Sept. 18 to enter a formal plea on charges of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors have also alleged the crimes benefit and promote a street gang. The surviving victim testified Wednesday that a tan SUV pulled up near a bus stop on Arrowhead Avenue, at Fifth Street, and stopped. The driver and passenger got out, but only the driver walked toward the victims. "What's up fool?" the victim recalled the driver saying, before he produced a handgun and fired several times. The victims turned to run, but Brookins was fatally shot. The county medical examiner later found that Brookins was shot in the chest and abdomen. The surviving victim was grazed on the head and shot in the arm and back, he said. Police said they found that one of the victims associated with a Los Angeles-based street gang. Officers crossed paths with Lopez during a traffic stop about two hours after the shooting. However, Lopez was dressed differently and had a different color vehicle than the accounts witnesses had given. Lopez surrendered to police with his lawyer the following week. Gang officer Francisco Hernandez testified that Lopez has self-admitted gang membership to police and has tattoos of "I.E." on his arms, "Mt. Vernon," on his stomach and "Verdugo" on his back. Hernandez said members typically commit violent crimes to gain respect and promote their gang, and it also shows Lopez's willingness to commit crimes for the gang. "It would intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of other gang members as well as members of the community," Hernandez said. A man who was also standing at the bus stop just before the shooting also noticed the victims' clothing. "They looked like they was from a gang," said Billy George. He described the shooter to police as possibly being black because he didn't hear an accent in the shooter's speech.


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