Skip to main content

Gang member gets life in shakedown attempt that led to infant's death

By CNN Staff
updated 8:26 PM EST, Wed January 9, 2013
  • Prosecutors say Javier Perez tried to silence a gang gunman who had killed an infant
  • Perez's gang tried to shake down a street vendor, and one of the gang opened fire
  • An infant was hit and killed, and Perez allegedly later tried to kill the gunman
  • Perez has been sentenced to life in a federal prison, where there is no parole

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A federal judge has sentenced a Los Angeles gang member to life in prison in a botched shakedown attempt that led to an infant's shooting death in 2007, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Javier Perez, 35, is one of four members of the Columbia Lil' Cycos gang who were convicted of federal racketeering charges in May. Prosecutors said the gang forced drug dealers and street vendors to pay "rent" in exchange for being allowed to work in its territory.

The gang was targeting a street vendor near the city's MacArthur Park. When the street vendor refused to pay $50 "rent," one of the gang's gunmen opened fire and killed a 3-week-old child, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. The vendor survived despite being shot four times.

Prosecutors said Perez drove the gunman to Mexico, where he was told he could lay low -- but then Perez strangled the gunman and dumped him off a cliff, leaving him for dead. The man survived.

In addition to Perez, another gang member who took part in the attempted killing has been sentenced to life as well, prosecutors said.

There is no parole in the federal prison system.

The case is part of a larger crackdown on the gang that resulted in the indictment of 43 members and associates in 2009, the U.S. attorney's office said. All but six, who remain at large, have been convicted.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.