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2 convicted of racial hate crime in San Fernando Valley shootings

Two gunmen were convicted of a racial hate crime and attempted murder in an unprovoked attack in May 2010 on two African American men in the west San Fernando Valley, the district attorney's office said Friday.

Francisco Vasquez, 34, of Simi Valley, and Anthony Gonzales, 19, of Canoga Park, yelled a racial slur and then opened fire on the black men after a confederate dropped them off in rival gang territory, prosecutors said.

The victims were not gang members; one was struck in the leg and the other was unharmed.

The getaway driver, Ali Fateh, 19, led police on a chase that ended in a crash, killing a fourth gang member, Joel Gomez, who was a passenger in the car. Fateh, a Winnetka resident, was convicted of second-degree murder and evading a police officer causing death, but cleared of the hate crime charge.

All three defendants face multiple life prison terms at their sentencing Nov. 4.

The case, tried before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry, was prosecuted by Deputy Dist. Atty. Daniel Akemon of the hardcore gang division.

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-- Gale Holland

 
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