Gang-related killing puts Longmont on edge
LONGMONT ” Police arrested four people and city officials called a community meeting on gang violence after a teen was killed over the weekend by men wielding bats and a samurai sword.
The slaying on Saturday came three days after a man was wounded in an apparently unrelated gang shooting, and it roiled this normally quiet city of 81,000 about 25 miles north of Denver.
“This thing is really hitting us quick, and we’re hurrying to get in touch with community people,” Louie Lopez, coordinator of the city Gang Response and Intervention Program, told the Longmont Daily Times-Call in Tuesday’s editions.
Investigators said seven men were responsible for the fatal attack on 17-year-old Martin Garcia, who was married and had an infant son. Police said at least one of the suspects belonged to a gang and that Garcia may have had ties to a rival gang.
“His family members said he was trying to distance himself from that,” Police Cmdr. Craig Earhart said. “It’s very hard to get out of gang activity once you’ve been in it.”
Garcia’s friends and family said he wasn’t a gang member.
“He was doing good. He was out of trouble,” said Deysa Lopez, Garcia’s sister. “He was a good son, a good brother and a good husband.”
Garcia’s wife, Martha Garcia, said he loved to play with their son and had hopes of one day owning his own auto body shop.
“He liked to make him smile and talk to him,” she said.
Police said Adam Le Mizones, 21, was being held on suspicion of second-degree murder and assault and Oscar Lozano, 17, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault in the attack on Garcia.
Boulder County sheriff’s deputies said Mizones had a samurai sword when he was arrested.
Earhart said Lozano is a gang member and investigators were working to determine if Mizones was. Two Longmont brothers, also purported members of a gang, were arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking part in the attack, said Earhart. They were identified as David Rodriguez Jr., 20, and Joseph Rodriguez, 18.
Investigators identified three other suspects but they had not yet been arrested, Earhart said.
Police initially said Garcia might have been attacked in retaliation for last week’s gang shooting but later said the incidents appeared unrelated. The 25-year-old victim of that shooting was expected to recover.
Police, school officials and the Gang Response and Intervention Program organized a community meeting for Thursday, and Police Chief Mike Butler said officers were on “high alert,” beefing up patrols and surveillance in gang areas.
Amy Ogilvie, supervisor of Longmont Community Programs, said it was important to get information out but said she worries about an overreaction.
“We just don’t want to create a panic,” Ogilvie said. “It’s important to keep your eyes open, but also to step up and be a part of the solution.”
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