|Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Two gang members convicted of Attempted Murder and Assault on a Peace Officer Sentenced to 30 Years Prison
In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 4, 2012, suspects Atkins and Butler armed themselves with handguns and walked up to the victims, who were standing in their driveway in the 14500 Block of South Keene Avenue in the unincorporated area of Gardena. The suspects asked the victims if they knew where they could buy marijuana and then without warning, fired several shots at the victims missing them as the victims dove for cover. During the shooting, a uniformed patrol deputy was in the area and observed the suspects running from the scene. During a short foot pursuit of the suspects, Michael Atkins pointed his loaded handgun at a deputy. Fearing the suspect was about to fire at him, the deputy fired several rounds at suspect Atkins, striking him in the arm. Atkins was taken into custody at the scene. Suspect Butler fled into the neighborhood and was taken into custody a short time after a yard-to-yard search. Two loaded handguns were recovered and connected to the suspects. The victims were not gang members. During the subsequent investigation by detectives from Operation Safe Streets Bureau assigned to the Compton Sheriff’s Station, both suspects identified themselves as gang members and confessed their intent to ambush the victims who they thought were rival gang members. Suspect Atkins also confessed to holding a handgun as he was shot by the deputy and stated that he thought the deputy was trying to shoot the gun out of his hand. Both suspects appeared in Compton Court on May 24, 2012, where they both plead guilty to multiple counts of attempted murder with weapons and gang allegations. Suspect Atkins also pled guilty to assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. They were each sentenced to thirty years and eight months in California State Prison.