Fatal stabbing of 12-year-old may be linked to tagging crew rivalry
The stabbing death of a 12-year-old Anaheim boy may have stemmed from a rivalry between tagging crews, according to family members and comments on the suspect’s Facebook page.
About 20 people gathered Tuesday at a makeshift memorial of flowers and candles in an apartment complex parking lot where Juan Martinez was killed.
The site of the Monday afternoon stabbing is across the street from Sycamore Junior High School, where Juan was a student.
Bryan Ocampo, 18, who lives at an apartment complex nearby, was arrested Monday night on suspicion of murder in the stabbing death.
Juan's siblings at the memorial described him as a goofy, artistic kid with a rebellious streak.
His 16-year-old brother, Alex Martinez, said Juan hung around with a tagging crew called Sky’s the Limit, or STL, and that Ocampo was a member of a rival crew called Downtown Anaheim, or DTA.
“He stood up for himself, and he stood up for his friends,” he said.
Alex expressed anger that an older person would have attacked a 12-year-old boy.
Residents of the apartment complex where Ocampo lives declined to comment.
The previous afternoon, a Facebook user identifying himself as Ocampo posted, “Theres a big scene at the end of my street,cops everywhere -__- what the hell happened?”
In response to another person's comment that Juan was killed because he “dissed OTR and DTA,” the Ocampo Facebook user responded, “Nah I never heard that…I didn’t even know who he was.”
It was not immediately clear what "OTR" stands for in that post.
A memorial Facebook page for Juan, whose nickname was R2D2, had garnered more than 1,250 fans, many of them posting, “RIP lil R2.”
-- Ricardo Lopez in Anaheim and Abby Sewell
Photo: Flowers hold up a photo of 12-year-old Juan Martinez, right, and his brother, Alex Martinez, 16, at a memorial where Juan was stabbed to death in a parking lot of an Anaheim apartment complex on La Palma Avenue. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times