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One of state's top high school running backs charged with attempted murder

August 25, 2009 |  6:01 pm

A Lakewood High School football player who is considered one of the top running backs in the state was charged Tuesday with two counts of attempted murder in connection with a gang-related drive-by shooting Friday afternoon in Compton, according to sources familiar with the case.

Jerry Stone, 17, was allegedly driving the vehicle involved in the shooting in the 1100 block of Acacia Avenue, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to discuss the case. Nobody was injured in the shooting.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has filed a motion to have Stone tried as an adult, according to spokeswoman Jane Robison. In addition to the attempted murder charges, the high school student faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of permitting another to shoot from a vehicle, one count of permitting a loaded firearm in a vehicle, one count of residential first-degree burglary and one count of hit-and-run.

Arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday in Compton Juvenile Court.

Steve Lawrence, another alleged assailant, was also arrested and charged with assault, according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore. The investigation is being handled by Operation Safe Streets — the sheriff’s anti-gang unit — and, according to sources, involves a Compton gang.

Lakewood Coach Thadd MacNeal said Stone would not play for the Lancers this season.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back caused his team to forfeit four early season games last year when it was determined that he was academically ineligible. Stone returned to help Lakewood reach a Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinal, where the Lancers lost to rival Long Beach Poly. Stone finished the season with 1,450 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging eight yards per carry.

MacNeal said his players were shaken by the loss of a star player less than two weeks before the season opener at Crenshaw on Sept. 4.

“Kids are pretty resilient, but they love Jerry and they’re saddened by it,” MacNeal said. “At the same time, I know they’re excited about their own season and it gives opportunities for others to have a chance to contribute.”

--Ben Bolch and Richard Winton