Boy denies guilt to gun charges

first_imgHe will be back for a hearing May 29 at Los Padrinos Juvenile Court. The trial is set for June 14. Authorities aren’t releasing his name because he is a minor. However, Robert Meyer, 25, of La Habra, who was arrested last week on suspicion of providing the boy with the gun, is now a free man. “We did reject the case today. Insufficient evidence,” Robison said. Deputies identified Meyers as an ex-felon and a gang member. He was released Monday WHITTIER – A 14-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Tuesday to bringing a loaded gun to his middle school last week. Meanwhile, prosecutors declined to file charges against a man who allegedly gave him the weapon. “In Juvenile Court, he declined the petition, which is the same as entering a not guilty plea in adult court,” said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The charges against the Whittier teen include possession of a gun by an active gang member, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of a firearm by a minor. from the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station jail. Deputies in the sheriff’s gang unit said the boy recently joined a local gang. He allegedly took the firearm to Katherine Edwards Middle School last week for protection against rival gang members. Deputies found the gun hidden in a planter on campus Thursday afternoon. School officials were tipped off by another student who overheard the boy talking about the weapon he allegedly hid. All the students at the school were kept inside their classrooms and released a few minutes past the regular dismissal time. While the teen allegedly told deputies he took the gun to school for protection, he offered no explanation for joining a gang, according to investigators. Gang experts said there are myriad reasons why teens join gangs. It’s also not that unusual for a 14-year-old to be a gang member, they say. “Family issues – It could be the kid is looking for a something he’s missing. A lot of factors,” said Lt. George Zagurski of the sheriff’s anti-gang unit, the Operation Safe Streets Bureau. Wes McBride, executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association, said experts also have noticed that many gang members come from either single-parent homes or from families in which parents, siblings or other family members belong to gangs or were former gang members. “That doesn’t hold true in every case,” he added. Another reason young people cite for joining gangs is protection; a gang provides a measure of safety from other gangs, according to the National Youth Gang Center, which conducts a yearly study of the nation’s gang problem. A 1998 survey by two researchers found that of about 6,000 eighth-graders in 11 cities with gang problems, 11 percent were gang members. McBride said most violent gang members tend to be 17 to 25. But he has seen far younger members. “We’ve had kids as young as 9 say \ in a gang, but that’s on the low end of the spectrum,” he said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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