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Two suspected gang members arrested in fatal Halloween shooting of 5-year-old

November 5, 2010 |  2:31 pm

Two suspected gang members have been arrested in the fatal Halloween shooting of a 5-year-old boy in a South Los Angeles backyard, where he was playing in his Spider-Man costume.

Marcus Denson, 18, and Leonard Hall Jr., 21, are each being held on $1-million bail after they were arrested by Los Angeles police detectives in connection with the killing of Aaron Shannon Jr. Investigators said they believe the alleged gunmen had mistaken the location for one they intended to fire on.

Denson was taken into custody Thursday evening. Hall was arrested early Friday morning. Both are considered to be members of the Kitchen Crips gang; a rival gang controls the neighborhood where Aaron was killed Sunday.

Hall is on parole after a conviction on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, officials said. Jail records show he was also arrested on Oct. 15, but details about that arrest were not immediately available. As part of the conditions of his parole, he is forbidden from associating with the Kitchen Crips, according to a law enforcement source.

Investigators said they believe both suspects fired handguns into the backyard and hit Aaron in the back of the head.

Officials said Aaron had run into the backyard to show off his Spider-Man costume to family members when two men armed with handguns opened fire in the alley behind the home. At least one of the rounds struck Aaron in the back of his head. His uncle was hit in the leg, and his grandfather on the wrist.

"This is absolutely horrific. This is 2 p.m. on Halloween," said LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon, who oversees South Los Angeles' policing. "This little boy was getting ready to go trick-or-treating.

"There is no reason for this shooting," he said. "This family has no gang ties. The shooters ... they are nothing but cowards."

Aaron, who attended elementary school in Compton, was going to a Halloween party in Inglewood, said his grandfather, William Shannon.

"I saw one of the men move to position himself to get a clear shot off, and he pointed a weapon and pulled the trigger," he said. "I turned around and I got shot in the left wrist, and he continued to fire as we were running."

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Family handout.

Crime L.A.: Crime data for this area over the last six months:

Violent crimes (434)
Property crimes (723)