The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office confirmed Friday the filing of charges at the Sylmar Juvenile Courthouse against an underage suspect for a double-murder that happened Saturday in Newhall.
The identity of the second suspect is not being released because he is a minor, according to Tiffiny Blacknell, director of communications for District Attorney George Gascon.
A statement from Gascón’s office confirmed the suspect, who is being tried as a juvenile, was charged with two counts of murder Friday. He’s due back in court May 19.
There have now been two suspects arrested and charged with murder in connection to the March 18 incident in which a man and a juvenile were shot multiple times in the upper torso while they were sitting at a community pool inside The Village Apartments on Silverado near Valle Del Oro in Newhall.
Detectives believe Anthony Martinez Ortiz, 18, of Sylmar, and his juvenile accomplice committed the murders near the pool around 10:50 a.m., fatally striking Brian Chevez, 25, and Cameron Stokes, 16, in what may have been a territorial dispute between gangs, according to Lt. Hugo Reynaga of LASD’s Homicide Bureau.
Neither the DA nor the Sheriff’s Department were able to answer questions Friday as to whether one or both individuals are believed to have fired shots or whether any weapons were recovered.
Reynaga initially said no weapon was recovered from the scene.
Martinez Ortiz pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of murder that officers have alleged are gang-related.
Blacknell also said Friday in a phone interview that there have been several misstatements circulated by media outlets regarding the circumstances behind the prosecution of both suspects who’ve been identified as part of the investigation into the shooting.
She confirmed that the juvenile suspect did have a previous gun-possession case, and that contrary to recent reports, the case was filed. Earlier this week, a law enforcement source told The Signal those charges had been dropped.
She declined to release the circumstances surrounding the previous charge, including the outcome of the case, adding she was being mindful of the laws regarding the release of information about minors.
She also disputed several characterizations of Gascón’s Special Directive 20-09, which were made recently in a story about the lawsuits against the DA’s Office from more than 12 deputy district attorneys.
“We regularly file charges against minors for gun possession,” she said Friday, adding that she would not address specific claims made in pending litigation.
Blacknell also said reports that Martinez Ortiz had a previous gun charge declined were untrue.
“That gentleman had no previous record,” she said, referring to the 18-year-old.
As of Friday afternoon, Martinez Ortiz is being held at North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, per Sheriff’s Department arrest records available online.
Both Martinez Ortiz and the juvenile suspect are being held without bond, according to the DA’s office and Sheriff’s Department records.