Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Police believe feud between two gangs led to slaying of Wilson High honors student

November 5, 2009 |  7:10 am

Long Beach police believe the fatal shooting of a Wilson High School honors students occurred when two rival groups of gang members at the school's homecoming dance got into a confrontation.

Two reputed gang members were arrested in connection with the shooting Friday night outside the Long Beach high school, and police said they are looking for other suspects.

Melody Ross, who was also a track athlete, was gunned down as she and her friends were leaving a football game. Two men -- an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old -- were wounded in the shooting, which occurred about  10 p.m. as crowds of students gathered near Ximeno Avenue and 10th Street.

Police say Ross was an innocent victim.

At first, police detectives struggled to find witnesses, even though hundreds of students were on campus when the shooting occurred. Police said more students came forward Monday, some at the urging of school officials.

The shooting shocked faculty and students at the campus, a diverse school that serves some of the city's most affluent communities.

Ross was dressed as Super Girl for the homecoming game against Polytechnic High School, which was attended by a number of students decked out in costumes on the day before Halloween.

The day after the shooting, Ross' classmates gathered at a pedestrian crossing along Ximeno near the football stadium exit to leave flowers and light candles by the curb where she was shot. They hugged one another, and some sat against the school fence or on the grass with their heads down, pondering the loss of a friend they described as polite and well-liked.

The names of the suspects were not released.

-- Robert J. Lopez