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TWO ARRESTED IN ATHLETE'S DEATH.

Byline: Staff and Wire Services

NORWALK - Sheriff's deputies arrested two men in the shooting death of a 20-year-old Antelope Valley College football player who was killed at a Norwalk party more than six months ago, a sheriff's deputy said Saturday.

Authorities identified the suspects in the slaying of Kevin Morris and the wounding of another man as Norwalk residents Jose Luna, 23, and Rafael Isaac Picado, 21, said Deputy Roberta C. Granek.

Both victims were African-American, deputies said, and the suspects are Hispanic.

Morris, who lived in Palmdale, and several other football players from Antelope Valley College had arrived about midnight at a party attended by about 200 people in the 13100 block of Crossdale Avenue in Norwalk.

The football players were invited by someone they had met earlier at another party, according to authorities.

``When they arrived at the party, there was racial tension between them and a predominantly Hispanic group who was in attendance,'' according to an earlier sheriff's department statement.

``The tension escalated, and as a result, the host decided to terminate the party,'' the statement continued. ``As the attendees were leaving the house, one of the football players was physically confronted by several Hispanic attendees. Other members of the Palmdale football team engaged in the fight.''

Authorities said a Hispanic male pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Morris was shot in the upper body and died later at a hospital. The other victim - Jerome Wright, 22, of Palmdale was treated for a wound to his left arm.

The shooter fled in a green Ford Explorer.

``During a six-month investigation, information was gathered from witnesses, which identified Jose Luna ... and Rafael Isaac Picado ... as suspects in the case,'' according to a sheriff's department statement released yesterday.

Both suspects were booked at the sheriff's Norwalk station, where they were being held on $2 million bail.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 10, 2002
Words:308
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