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High School Student

Gunned Down

Los Angeles, September 13, 2001


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Los Angeles, September 13, 2001: Ricky Arriequin, 16 years old and a student at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, was shot to death as he walked away from his campus to meet his mother. He only made it about 20 feet from the school when a red vehicle pulled beside him. A male passenger jumped out and asked Ricky what gang he was with, then opened fire. Ricky was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I'm concerned for all the students," Kennedy Principal Jim Gwin said, standing at the crime scene. "It's an awful thing. One of our basic jobs is making the school safe."

Ricky’s family and friends said he was not a gang member, that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. "He was a little guy, very skinny; he was not a gang member," said Brian Flores, a friend of Arriequin. Flores, 19, said that there was a great deal of tension between students at Kennedy High School and gangs out of Pacoima, and that they often face off at a nearby mall. "At least once a week, there's fights and stabbings," he said.

Mary Torres, 16, Ricky's girlfriend, sat on a curb in a parking lot next to the school and cried.

Thursday's shooting was at least the fifth near a San Fernando Valley high school in two years. Other Valley high schools have also recently endured gang violence. Earlier this year outside Cleveland High, a gang brawl erupted into gunfire, leaving two 11th-graders injured on the street in front of the school. In November, a gunman shot and wounded a 17-year-old Taft High School student on campus shortly after a football game. A month earlier, a 15-year-old San Fernando High School student was shot in the hand during a confrontation between two groups of youths near campus.

(See the Lock Out Violence Everyday Campaign - A community violence prevention program).


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