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Two more suspects charged in southeast L.A. County slayings

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An 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with a series of deadly drive-by shootings this month, joining two suspects who were apprehended within hours of the killings, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced.

Prosecutors also announced murder charges against two of the suspects for two fatal shootings in November.

Four people were shot and killed on Feb. 11 and 12 across a five-mile radius. The victims were targeted at random in the cities of Cudahy, Huntington Park and Bell and unincorporated Los Angeles County, authorities say.

Law enforcement arrested 42-year-old Gary Garcia Jr. and 20-year-old Timberland Wayne McKneely less than 24 hours after the killings. Days later, 17-year-old Deair Fleming Delerence was arrested as the third suspect, according to a news release from Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s office.

On Thursday, the D.A.’s office announced murder charges against 18-year-old Joseivan Mendoza as the fourth suspect in the February shootings. Prosecutors also revealed two additional murder charges for the killings of two men, ages 30 and 28, in an unincorporated part of the county on Nov. 24. McKneely and Mendoza were named as the alleged shooters.

In total, six people were killed by the suspects, prosecutors alleged. Four were killed in the span of a few hours in southeast L.A. County, including 14-year-old Javier Pedraza Jr. who was shot and killed outside his elementary school in Cudahy in the early hours of Feb. 12. The other victims were 24-year-old Kevin Parada; 27-year-old Josue Ramirez and 43-year-old Omar Mara, according to the D,A,’s office.

“Last week, our office charged two men in the murders of four innocent people, including a child,” Gascón said in a statement. “This week, we have charged a juvenile in connection with those four murders, and filed additional charges against Mr. McKneely and another man for the tragic murders of two additional men.”

Delerence is scheduled to appear in court in late March and is charged with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder, according to the D.A.’s office. Two others were shot during the Feb. 11 and 12 shootings, including a 13-year-old boy. Mendoza is charged with two counts of murder.

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