A story for every victim

Jesse Valencia, 6

Jessie Valencia, a 6-year-old Latino boy, was fatally shot Friday, Jan. 8, in the 400 block of South Azusa Avenue in Azusa, according to authorities.

Two men have been charged with Jessie's murder. Richard Paul Joseph Gomez, a 21-year-old Latino, of Azusa, and Mathew Steven Loza, a 20-year-old Latino, of West Covina, were each charged with one count of murder, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said.

Gomez also was charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly trying to hide Loza so he would not be arrested, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The complaint alleges that Loza used a .30-30 rifle to commit the crime. Valencia was playing with a remote-control car in his driveway when he was shot Friday afternoon, police said.

Police declined to say whether the shooting was intentional or accidental or whether the intended target was someone else.

The boy's slaying shocked residents and officials in the eastern San Gabriel Valley city.

[Coroner's officials gave the spelling of his first name as "Jesse" but a family member spelled it "Jessie" for a Times' reporter.]

-- Robert J. Lopez

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