COMPTON – The LA Sheriffs Department arrested three suspects on January 24th for a hate crime committed in Compton, a city with a history of racial tension. According to an LASD press release, 21-year-old Efren Marquez of Riverside County, 19-year-old Jeffrey Aguilar of Compton, and a teenage juvenile were arrested after repeatedly threatening an African-American family after they moved into their gang territory on 153rd Street.
The conflict began on New Year’s Eve of last year when one of the male victims was walking home. An SUV containing five Latino gang members approached the victim and told him that he and his family were not welcome because they were black. The suspects continued to threaten him and use racial epithets until the victim, fearing for his life, tried to run the rest of the way home.
The suspects exited the vehicle and pursued the victim on foot before they managed to surround him and beat him with metal pipes. While the victim was being beaten, one of the suspects pointed a gun and threatened to shoot before he and the gang fled the scene in their SUV. The victim later identified Marquez as the suspect behind the gun and Aguilar as one of the gang members who beat him with a pipe.
Thirty minutes later, Marquez and Aguilar returned with 15 to 20 gang members who then surrounded the family’s house. The gang members continued to hurl racial slurs, specifically telling them that “n-words” were not allowed in the neighborhood. At one point, a suspect threw a beer bottle at their window, shattering it. Both Marquez and Aguilar were reported to have been armed.
For the rest of the day, the victims were harassed as the gang members drove by the house three times a day and continued their verbal assault. As a result of the attacks, detectives from the LASD’s Operation Safe Streets Bureau served search warrants at 11 locations in Compton, Gardena, and Rialto on January 24th.
During one of those searches in Compton, deputies located the juvenile suspect and arrested him. During his detention, the suspect began to struggle with one of the deputies and reach for the gun in his holster. Surrounding officers were able to further restrain him and prevent the suspect from reaching the firearm. The suspect was later detained at a juvenile detention facility where he was booked for assault on a police officer.
Marquez and Aguilar were also located and arrested. Both were booked at the Compton Sheriff’s Station and charged with a Hate Crime Committed for the Purpose of Violation of Civil Rights with Ability to Commit Violet Injury on Another. Both are being held on $95,000 bail.
According to LASD Deputy Aura Sierra, local deputies are making routine checks as the investigation progresses.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sheriff’s Operation Safe Streets Bureau gang investigators at (310)603-3100 or the Compton Sheriff’s Station at (310)605-6500.