A story for every victim

Rene Balbuena, 41

Rene Balbuena, a 41-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Oct. 19 near the 9100 block of South Gramercy Place in Gramercy Park, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

About 7:40 p.m., Balbuena and his 15-year-old son drove to the area in response to a Craigslist ad for a cell phone, according to a news release from the Los Angeles police.

When the father and son arrived at the location, two people approached the vehicle and demanded money.

Balbuena got out of the car and one of the people began shooting. Then, the two people fled.

Balbuena was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:17 p.m., according to coroner’s records. His son was treated and released.

Markell Thomas, 18 and Ryan Roth, 17, were arrested on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25, respectively. Roth and Thomas have been each been charged with murder with special circumstances, attempted murder and two counts each of second-degree robbery with gang enhancements, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information about the crime can call the Criminal Gang Homicide Division at (213) 485-1383. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

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