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Female gang member charged in church deacon's slaying

The side of the church at Beverly Blvd. and Reno Street where two church members who confronted a tagger spraying graffiti were shot. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

A female gang member was charged Tuesday with  murder, attempted murder and vandalism for her role in the Nov. 4 fatal shooting of a church deacon outside a Westlake district church when he and others tried to stop her from vandalizing the church.

Janeth Lopez, 22, was allegedly spray-painting a red graffiti tag on the walls of the Iglesia de Paz church when the deacon and other church members tried to stop her.

But prosecutors say a suspected male gang member got out of his car and opened fire, killing 25-year-old Andres Ordonez and wounding a second man who attended the church.

Ordonez’s wife was helping to prepare food for the Sunday service when her husband stepped outside the church to check on her. He heard a noise and saw another parisioner, around the corner, asking the female vandal to stop scrawling her gang's name on the church wall. She shoved the parishioner, causing him to stumble, authorities said.

Ordonez and another parishioner were shot when they went to help the man.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Phillip Glaviano, assistant head deputy of the Hardcore Gang Division, said Lopez was charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one misdemeanor count of vandalism. She also faces additional allegations involving the gun and being a gang member.

Lopez fled the scene by hopping into the waiting vehicle with the gunman, who remains at large.

Police continue to investigate the shooting.

Lopez was slated to be arraigned  Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $2.5 million.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: The side of the church at Beverly Boulevard and Reno Street where two church members who confronted a tagger spraying graffiti were shot. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

 
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