When authorities in Pasadena tried to stop an SUV on Christmas day -- a fleeing vehicle that ultimately collided with a minivan, killing two family members -- the suspicion was that it might have been connected to an earlier homicide in the area.
It was not.
So says the L.A. County District Attorney's office, which brought a separate case this week against the suspect shooter:
The D.A.'s office said it was 20-year-old Larry Darnell Bishop Jr. who pulled the trigger about 11 a.m. Christmas Day as he targeted another motorist in the 1900 block of Newport Ave.
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Victor McClinton, a well-loved, 49-year-old civilian employee of the L.A. Sheriff's Department, who happened to be outside chatting with another youths-sports coach, was fatally hit instead.
There was a macabre sequence of events that day.
Police established a perimeter in the neighborhood well into the night and, about 8:15 p.m., a Pasadena cop riding in an unmarked car with an FBI agent came across a Dodge Durango leaving the area.
They initiated a traffic stop and a short chase ensued, but at Marengo Avenue and Maple Street the SUV struck a minivan, killing 26-year-old Tracey Ong Tan of Glendale and her reported cousin, 11-year-old Kendrick Ng of Daly City, California.
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Driver and passenger, Darrell Lee Williams, 22, and Brittany Michellle Washington, 21, were charged with murder and accused of being gangsters. Cops even said they found a gun in the car.
But they didn't kill McClinton.
Late yesterday the D.A.'s office said:
There is no evidence at this time that McClinton's fatal shooting is related to a brief high-speed car chase that killed two people in the same area hours later. Police are still investigating both incidents.
A D.A.'s statement, meanwhile, says suspect Bishop faces ...
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... one count of murder with the special circumstances of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle and murder to further a criminal street gang. He's also charged with one count of attempted murder, two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and possession of a firearm by a felon, charges that include personal discharge of a handgun.
Gary Aurthur Davis, 20, was also charged in the shooting case. The D.A.'s office says he is being prosecuted "as being an accessory after the fact."
Bishop has a record as a burglar, the office says, and could possibly face the death penalty if convicted.