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Racial motive in slaying of black bowling alley worker, police say

January 17, 2009 |  8:52 am

Three Canoga Park gang members have been charged in what police describe as the racially motivated murder of a black bowling alley worker in December in Canoga Park.

James Shamp, a 48-year-old father of two, was throwing out the trash outside the Canoga Bowl when a car loaded with gang members pulled up next to him, authorities said. One of the men pulled out a gun and fatally shot Shamp in the chest, said homicide Det. David Peteque of the Los Angeles Police Department. Shamp was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Most shootings we have can be related to narcotics and gang related," Peteque said Friday. "But this was a family man -- he was a father of two, a good husband. He was at work doing his job and he was basically gunned down."

Richard Bordelon, 21, and Martin Sotelo, 23, whom authorities identified as members of the Canoga Park Alabama Gang, were each charged with one count of murder and conspiracy to commit a crime because of race. Each man was also charged with one count of attempted second-degree robbery arising from a separate incident.

Additionally, Sotelo was charged with one count of unlawful driving or taking a vehicle and one count of evading an officer, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

A third suspect, 15, was charged in Juvenile Court with intentionally committing murder because of race, street gang killing and discharging a weapon, district attorney's spokeswoman Jane Robison said.

All three suspects have pleaded not guilty.

Police have not provided details about how they determined that the killing was racially motivated.

"We're 100 % sure of it, but we cannot disclose how we know that right now," LAPD Det. Peteque said.

-- Ruben Vives