Lady Justice 3 16-9

An 18-year-old reputed gang member was charged Monday with capital murder and robbery in the stabbing death of a 15-year-old Cabrillo High School student who was targeted while walking home from school.

Giovanny Montelongo allegedly stabbed Keshawn Brooks while trying to snatch his backpack last Thursday.

The defendant made his initial appearance in a Long Beach courtroom this afternoon on charges that could result in the death penalty, but his arraignment was put off until April 6.

He is facing murder, second-degree robbery and attempted second-degree robbery charges, along with a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery and gang and deadly weapon allegations.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue the death penalty in the event that Montelongo is convicted.

The criminal complaint states that Montelongo goes by the moniker “Drowsy” and alleges that an attempted robbery against another victim last Thursday was also committed “for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang.”

Brooks was attacked with a “sharp instrument” around 3:25 p.m. Thursday in the 2800 block of Santa Fe Avenue as he walked home from Cabrillo High, according to Long Beach police and prosecutors.

Montelongo was arrested within hours at a residence in the 1700 block of West Columbia Street. Police said he had three outstanding warrants, including one no-bail warrant, all for alleged acts committed while he was a juvenile.

Keeyon Layton, Brooks’ father, said his son was an innocent victim.

“My son was not a gang member,” Layton said Thursday night. “This was murder … and he didn’t deserve this.”

Long Beach City Councilman Roberto Uranga offered his condolences last week to the victim’s family and vowed to work with police and the Long Beach Unified School District to ensure the safety of students and community members affected by a scourge of racially motivated and gang-fueled violence.

“The ongoing racial and gang tensions in West Long Beach are unacceptable in a city as diverse as Long Beach and I will not allow our communities to continually live in fear,” he said.

— City News Service

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