Two documented gang members were charged with murder Tuesday in connection with the death of a 9-year-old Anaheim girl struck by gunfire while playing outside her apartment.
Alfredo Miguel Aquino, 20, of Anaheim, and Ricardo Cruz, 19, of Buena Park, were both charged with murder, street terrorism, firearms charges and parole violations. Their arraignment was postponed until Nov. 21.
"They are gang members, and this crime is a gang-related murder in which they went there for the specific purpose to commit a gang-related murder. Unfortunately a young girl lost her life because of that. It's senseless, it's violent," said Deputy District Attorney Rahul Gupta.
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The girl's parents were in the courtroom Tuesday, but did not want to comment to the media.
Ximena Meza was struck and killed as Aquino and Cruz shot at a group of men, prosecutors said.
"The investigation included a community meeting at Brookhurst Park, the interview of numerous witnesses, and the processing / collection of evidence," police said in a statement after the arrest.
Witnesses said two or more people drove down Greenacre Avenue from Crescent Avenue around 7:15 p.m. Oct. 22 near where Meza and her sister were outside playing.
Meza was struck in the chest when one of the men reportedly exited the car and opened fire at the other group. She died at a local hospital.
Each man is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is expected in court Tuesday afternoon.
The neighborhood and elementary school Meza attended have rallied around her family, raising money for her funeral.
Both men have previously been convicted for weapons and gang-related crimes.
If convicted in Meza's death, they face a minimum of life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.