Los Angeles District attorney George Gascon announced criminal charges against nine suspected members of gangs in connection with the murders that took place over several months.
Los Angeles Police Department identified seven suspects in the operation as 20-year old Mario Gonzalez, 21-yearold Tony Gonzalez, 27-yearold Alexander Padilla Yates, 28-yearold Tyrece Brown and 38-yearold James Patterson. Darryl Jones was 35 years old. Jahzanee Jeervean Cruz was 27. Two more are still being sought.
“I will ensure that there are severe consequences for anyone who does not have compassion for another person’s life. My heart breaks for the families who have lost loved ones to violent crime. Gascon stated in a Friday statement that they will work with them to offer trauma-informed service.”
He stated that his office was working diligently with law enforcement and community partners to reduce violence in Los Angeles County.
He said, “I have embedded veteran investigators and prosecutors with police in areas where violence has been common.”
These charges relate to the November 2021 murders, 61-year old Christopher Woods, 24-yearold Timothy Lee and 23-yearold Arron Smith, as well the December 2021 murders, 23-yearold Kodi Martin, 24 year-old Erika Dixon and January 2022 murders, of Jamahl Feemster. Gascon’s office also stated that the suspects were linked to three attempted murders.
Mario Gonzalez faces six murder charges in connection with the deaths of Sutton Woods, Lee Martin, Dixon, Feemster, and Martin. He is currently being held on $18million bail. Yates is being held on $18 million bail for the murders of Dixon, Lee, Martin, and Martin. As ABC 7 reported, Brown, Patterson and Jones are each facing two counts of conspiracy to murder.
According to the outlet, Tony Gonzalez was charged with one count in second-degree robbery.
Six defendants were charged with murder or conspiracy to murder. They pleaded not guilty and will appear in court on February 9 for a preliminary hearing.
LAPD stated that the multi-arrest operation was centered around one street gang responsible for six homicides. Two of these occurred in LA’s 77th St Area, two in Southeast Area and a double homicide occurred in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Century Station.
The number of murders in Los Angeles has decreased by 21% in 2022, but they are up almost 37% in comparison to the same period in 2019.