Police have arrested a 15-year-old suspect for the murder of Angel Cortez, a one-year-old baby who was fatally shot in his father's arms June 4 in South LA.
The boy, who prosecutors say is a known gang member named Donald Ray Dokins, was arrested Thursday for Cortez's tragic death. Because he's over 14 years old, Dokins will be tried as an adult and is scheduled to be charged Friday with one count of murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder because the baby's father, Mauro Cortez, was also hit by the bullets.
Prosecutors will request $3 million in bail. Dokins could face multiple life sentences if convicted.
Cortez was with friends, holding his infant son outside his home that evening when shots rang out from a passing bicyclist on the street. Cortez was hit in the shoulder, but his baby took a bullet to the stomach and died in the hospital a few hours later.
At the time, police said the motive for the shooting is unknown, but the Los Angeles Times makes a connection between the seemingly random shooting (Cortez was not affiliated with any gangs) and the gang violence that has plagued the Watts-area neighborhood.
Before the shooting, relatives told Cortez to remove the purple shirt he was wearing because it could be misconstrued as an association with the latino Barrio Grape Street gang, reports the Times. Cortez complied, but someone in the group was still wearing purple when he and his baby were shot that night.
The murder outraged authorities and the surrounding community. The LA City Council authorized a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprit, and the Los Angeles Kings team contributed another $50,000.
UPDATE: Donald Ray Dokins appeared in court Friday, but he did not enter a plea. His arraignment is postponed until July 16, reports the Associated Press. A judge set Dokins' bail at $3 million.
Authorities said that while Dokins' alleged crime was gang-related, the baby's father, Mauro Cortez, was not in a gang.
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