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MURDER CHARGE FILED OVER DEATH OF GANG MEMBER.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Prosecutors have filed a murder charge against a Palmdale gang member who investigators say fatally shot a rival in a gang dispute.

Peter Mendoza, 24, was being sought in the April 29 slaying of Luis DeLapaz, 25, of Palmdale. Along with the murder charge, prosecutors filed gun and gang allegations.

``They were arguing over some prior conversation that they had on the phone,'' Sgt. Rich Garcia said. ``They were arguing about one disrespecting another.''

DeLapaz, an ex-convict, died from multiple gunshot wounds in the shooting that took place in the living room of a home in the 3000 block of West Avenue R-6. Both men, who belong to rival gangs, knew a woman who lived there, investigators said.

DeLapaz was at the house when Mendoza arrived, and the two men got into a fight and struggled over a gun that Mendoza had, Detective Mitch Robison said.

Mendoza either put the gun down or someone took it away from him, Robison said.

``They went outside and fought, and at that point the suspect ran inside the house, obtained a shotgun and the victim followed him. As soon as he entered, he was shot and killed,'' Garcia said.

Sheriff's deputies found DeLapaz lying on the living-room floor bleeding.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 14, 2005
Words:212
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