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SLAIN FATHER COULDN'T ESCAPE GANG VIOLENCE.

Byline: Jaxon Van Derbeken Daily News Staff Writer

Arthur Jay Jensen Sr. had escaped the lure of gangs as a teen-ager here - he married, had a family and became a highly skilled machinist in the aerospace industry.

But even on an Easter holiday visit to his family's home in San Fernando, the 32-year-old Castaic man couldn't escape a familiar, but unanswerable challenge from his past.

As he and his 15-year-old son walked to the market that evening, two gang members cruised up and barked the familiar challenge: ``Where are you from?''

``We're not from anywhere,'' Jensen replied.

A fight ensued. One of the teen-age assailants pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and shot Jensen to death as he tried to flee. His son ran to safety. Already mortally wounded, Jensen was then hit by a car as he ran and died on Kalisher Street about 6:15 p.m.

``This was Easter Sunday - no respect,'' said Jensen's older brother, Gerald Jensen Jr., 35, of San Fernando. ``It was a nice day, they were just walking. The sad thing is, they just walked around the block to the store.''

Authorities say they are searching for the two men who attacked the father of four. Neither Jensen nor his son was involved in gangs, and the attack was unprovoked, authorities said.

``It was very sad, it was just a matter of wrong place at the wrong time,'' said Lt. Ray Peavy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. ``He was a hard worker. He had no affiliation with gangs at the time,'' he said.

Peavy said that investigators have no suspects. The getaway car was described as a maroon or burgundy Chevrolet Lumina with tinted windows and a cellular phone antenna. Authorities said they have a partial license plate of 1 or I, followed by the letters VF.

On Monday, Jensen's family gathered to mourn Arthur Jensen and lament the violence that shattered the city of San Fernando even on Easter Sunday.

``It's a shame that you can't walk down the streets,'' said Jensen's father, Gerald Jensen Sr.

Jensen said his son had known gang members, but he moved with him to the Santa Clarita Valley to escape trouble. Arthur Jensen decided he wanted to raise a family and learn a trade as a machinist, his father said.

``He was quite a skilled machinist, he could find himself a job where nobody else could - he was quite proud of that,'' he said. ``He married a nice girl.''

Gerald Jensen said that his brother dabbled in gangs ``like any teen-ager growing up,'' but devoted his life to his family.

Family members remembered how Jensen would work 12-hour days for $17 an hour as a computer operator and machinist in Valencia. He spent his time away from work with his wife of 12 years, Patricia, Arthur Jr. and three younger children, Mike, 11, Jensine, 9, and Erika, 7.

Gerald Jensen Jr. said his brother was in San Fernando visiting at the Hollister Street house where he had been raised and where his son stayed during the week. About 6 p.m., an hour after he arrived, he decided to go to the store with his son.

About 10 minutes passed. ``That's when I heard the two shots - I went over there and see a lot of commotion. I see two people and see somebody kneeling down and somebody lying down,'' the younger brother said. ``I see my nephew, then see my brother, his face full of blood.''

``My nephew had him in his arms,'' he said.

Police and the Jensen family said the two men got in an argument with Jensen and then one man got out, while the second parked the car and emerged with a gun.

``My brother told his son to run, run for cover,'' Gerald Jensen said.

``He ran 10 feet, he looked back, and that's when he saw his dad laying on the floor.''

Peavy said the confrontation probably was unavoidable - even on Easter.

``They were just walking and this car with two gang types in it pulls along side and someone asks where are they from, that's pretty common for gangsters. I'm not sure there is a right answer. If you don't give them the right answer, they shoot you.''

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PHOTO (color) Arthur Jay Jensen was shot to death in his old neighborhood in front of his son.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 1, 1997
Words:732
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