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Black/Latino Violence, Cont.: The Complexity of Cross-Race Murder

September 20, 2007 | 11:56 am

The photo gallery below shows the complexity of black/Latino murder in Los Angeles. Each of the victims pictured here died this year in Los Angeles County from violence that crossed racial lines. But their stories defy simplistic assumptions:


Above, Shantell Martinez, 18, (far left among the young women pictured), is listed as the Latina victim of a homicide committed by black suspects. But in reality, Martinez was of mixed heritage, spending time with black friends who affectionately called her, "White Girl." The conflict preceding the shooting was essentially black-on-black, and the indiscriminate gunfire that killed Martinez also wounded four black people.



This row: Rafael Rivera, 33, (far left), was a Latino man killed by a black man. But investigators think his killer probably mistook Rivera for black. Rivera was very dark-skinned, and his nickname "El Moreno" means "the black man" in the colloquial Spanish of L.A. streets.

Kenneth Johnson,48, a black man, (second from left), was killed in a double homicide in which a Latino man faces trial. The suspect in the case, however, was a known to be violent toward both blacks and Latinos, and investigators believe the killing had more to do with the suspect's violent mood, and perhaps some minor quarrel, than with anything related to race.

Salvador Arredondo, Latino, (third from left), and Fabian Cooper, black, (second from right), were lifelong, good friends who died together in a homicide committed by black suspects. One Latino, one black: They were united by friendship, and were both, identically, random victims, caught in the middle of some gang quarrel of which they had no part.

Eugene Robinson, 34, (far right), was a black man living in a Latino world. He was the member of a Latino gang, and the suspects in his killing are Latino. His nickname, "Shadow," presumeably referred to how his complexion contrasted with that of the people around him. The eulogies written on his street shrine were almost entirely in Spanish.