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Aaron Shannon Jr., 5

Aaron Shannon Jr. (2010-11-01)

Aaron Shannon Jr., a 5-year-old black boy, died Monday, Nov. 1, a day after he was shot in the 1000 block of East 84th Street in Florence, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Officials said Aaron was enjoying Halloween when he ran into the backyard to show off his Spider-Man costume to family members about 2 p.m. While he was outside, two men armed with handguns opened fire in the alley behind the home. At least one of the rounds struck Aaron in the back of his head. His uncle was hit in the leg, and his grandfather on the wrist.

Investigators said they believe both suspects fired handguns into the backyard and hit Aaron in the back of the head. Following the shooting, the boy was rushed to the hospital, where he died the next day.

Aaron's grandfather, William Shannon, and uncle, Terrence Shannon, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Aaron, who attended elementary school in Compton, was going to a Halloween party in Inglewood, said his grandfather.

"I saw one of the men move to position himself to get a clear shot off, and he pointed a weapon and pulled the trigger," he said. "I turned around and I got shot in the left wrist, and he continued to fire as we were running."

"This is absolutely horrific. This is 2 p.m. on Halloween," said LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon, who oversees South Los Angeles' policing. "This little boy was getting ready to go trick-or-treating.

"There is no reason for this shooting," he said. "This family has no gang ties. The shooters ... they are nothing but cowards."

Several days after the incident, two suspected gang members were arrested in connection with Aaron's death.

Marcus Denson, an 18-year-old black man, and Leonard Hall Jr., a 21-year old black man, are each being held on $1-million bail after they were apprehended by Los Angeles police detectives. Investigators said they believe the alleged gunmen had mistaken the location for one they intended to fire on.

Denson was taken into custody on Nov. 4, while Hall was arrested early Friday morning. Both are considered to be members of the Kitchen Crips gang; a rival gang controls the neighborhood where Aaron was killed.

Hall is on parole after a conviction on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, officials said. Jail records show he was also arrested on Oct. 15, but details about that arrest were not immediately available. As part of the conditions of his parole, he is forbidden from associating with the Kitchen Crips, according to a law enforcement source.

-- Richard Winton

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