Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Two alleged gang members were charged Tuesday with murder and other counts stemming from the death of a 9-year-old girl who was shot while playing with other children in front of an Anaheim apartment complex.

Alfredo Miguel Aquino, 20, of Anaheim, and Ricardo Cruz, 19, of Buena Park, made their first appearance in court today on the charges when their arraignment was rescheduled until Nov. 21.

Aquino and Cruz are charged with murder, along with a special circumstance allegation of murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang.

They are also charged with street terrorism, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of school grounds. They charges include sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and gang activity.

The two are accused in the killing of 9-year-old Ximena Meza, who was shot about 7:15 p.m. Oct. 22 in the 2300 block of West Greenacre Avenue. The girl was playing with her two sisters and other children in front of an apartment complex when the shots rang out, Anaheim police Lt. Bob Dunn said.

Dunn said two or more suspects were driving on Greenacre Avenue from Crescent Avenue in a white vehicle when it stopped near the complex where the children were playing and a man exited and opened fire.

The gunman was aiming at a group of men just west of where the victim was playing, but the wayward bullet struck Ximena, Dunn said.

The two suspects were arrested just after 11 p.m. Friday.

Aquino and Cruz have been co-defendants before, according to court records. They both pleaded guilty to possession of a deadly weapon — a leaded cane — and misdemeanor street terrorism and admitted a sentencing enhancement for gang activity on July 17.

Aquino also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving without a valid driver’s license and Cruz admitted a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

For the deadly weapon case, Aquino was sentenced to six months in jail and Cruz was sentenced to a year in jail with a suspended 16-month state prison sentence, according to court records. Aquino was ordered to serve another 30 days in jail on Sept. 24 when his probation was revoked, according to court records.

Cruz was also arrested on Sept. 24, but was given credit for time served and released Sept. 30, according to jail records.

City News Service

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