A suspected gang member accused of using an AK-47 to gun down a woman in Spring Valley while she sat in a parked car with her young child pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and other felony charges.
Karmen Anderson, 40, was shot about 11:30 p.m. on Bancroft Drive on the night of April 24 and died at a hospital days later, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. She was not the intended victim, according to prosecutors. Deputy District Attorney Chris Lawson alleged that Jammerieo Austin, 26, of San Diego, and others actually sought to kill the woman's husband, who they believed had ties to a rival gang.
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The prosecutor said surveillance footage obtained by police showed a car Austin was in darken its headlights and drive through the area several times prior to the shooting, in what he alleged was an attempt to ambush the intended victim.
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Austin is accused of arming himself with an AK-47 rifle, getting out of the suspect vehicle's passenger side and firing 13 rounds into the victim's car, striking Anderson three times.
The victim's 4-year-old child was not struck by the gunfire, but Lawson said the gunshots pierced the car's gas tank, causing it to erupt in flames. The youngster's father, who was also not struck by the shots, was able to pull the child from the car, the prosecutor said.
Lawson said part of the evidence allegedly tying Austin to the slaying included a photograph from the day of the killing, which showed him posing with other gang members, one of whom was holding a rifle that is believed to be the murder weapon. Lawson also said Austin was wearing clothes that were similar to the clothes the shooter was seen wearing in the surveillance footage.
The prosecutor told NBC 7 that the investigation is ongoing, and officials believe a second shooter also fired a weapon at the scene since a .40 caliber shell casing was found at the scene. He also said that there is likely a third suspect, who was driving the car Austin was allegedly riding in.
As co-conspirators, both of the other suspects could face murder and other charges as well, Lawson said. The prosecutor also said no other suspects are in custody at this time. He was unable to make public whether the AK-47 had been recovered.
Prosecutors say Austin, who is being held without bail, faces charges of murder, attempted murder, shooting into an inhabited vehicle, being a felon in possession of a gun and conspiracy. He also faces special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and committing a murder while an active member of a criminal street gang.
Austin is due back in court Aug. 5 for a readiness conference.