Two Arrested in Shooting of 9-Year-Old

December 22, 2006

Los Angeles: Los Angeles police detectives arrested two key suspects connected with the shooting of 9-year-old Charupha Wongwisetsiri last Wednesday night in Angeleno Heights.

“The publicity in this case was key to making these arrests so quickly,” said Captain Jose Perez of the Rampart Police Station. “We are still looking for more information and additional suspects.”

A lawyer called Rampart detectives this afternoon, December 22, saying he represented Cesar Zamora, 24, whom detectives wanted to question in the shooting. The lawyer accompanied Zamora when he a surrendered to detectives at the Rampart Police Station around 5:00 P.M.

About 45 minutes later, police detained Steven Andrew Castanon, 20, during a traffic stop near Echo Park. Castanon was a passenger in his sister’s car. Castanon had been questioned and released yesterday morning during the preliminary stages of the investigation.

Detectives developed enough probable cause overnight to support Zamora and Castanon’s arrests for attempted murder. Detectives believe Zamora and Castanon were both armed and fired their handguns on the evening of the shooting. Neither of the guns has been recovered. Detectives are keen to identify another gunman at the scene.

The shooting took place around 8:25 P.M. when a group of men in their teens and early twenties drove up to the front of 831 East Kensington Road. One Hispanic man, armed with a gun, got out and confronted Zamora and Castanon, who each fired.

At least one of their bullets tore through the house across the street from the shooting. One round struck Charupha in the head as she stood next to her mother in their kitchen. Charupha’s mother, Kamaonphorn Maxwell, scooped up her daughter and rushed her to the hospital. The child remains in critical condition at Children’s Hospital.

Zamora and Castanon’s bails were set at $500,000 each. The investigation will continue and detectives will present the case to prosecutors next week.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Rampart Homicide Detectives at 213-207-2060. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).