WEEKLY EXCLUSIVE: Bloody Christmas
Four arrested after three die on Christmas Day in two separate incidents, one involving the shooting death of a sheriff’s employee and community activist
By André Coleman 01/02/2013
Two men have been arrested in connection with the Christmas morning shooting death of a Sheriff’s Department technician and the critical wounding of another Pasadena man, police announced late Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, a Pasadena man and a Los Angeles woman remain in custody, charged with murder and other crimes following a fatal car crash Christmas evening following a high-speed chase with police, who followed the silver SUV the man and woman were in believing it may have been involved in the shooting earlier that day.
At around 8 p.m. Christmas, the driver of that vehicle ran a red light at the corner of North Marengo Avenue and Maple Street and rammed a mini-van carrying five members of a family from Glendale.
Killed in the crash were 25-year-old Tracey Ong Tan and her cousin, Kendrick Ng, 11.
In the shooting case, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra told the Weekly that Darnell Bishop, 20, a reputed gang member from Chino, was arrested Friday and charged with murdering Victor McClinton in front of McClinton’s home in the 1900 block of Newport Avenue. Bishop is also believed to have shot and critically wounded 24-year-old Damion Taylor in the same incident.
Bishop is charged with one count of murder, two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of attempted murder. If convicted, Bishop could face the death penalty.
Gary Arthur Davis, of Pasadena, also 20, was arrested on Saturday and charged with being an accessory to murder in connection with McClinton’s slaying and the wounding of Taylor, Ibarra said.
According Ibarra, Bishop was firing at Taylor, who also has known gang ties, when 49-year-old McClinton, a youth football coach who happened to be standing outside his home at the time Taylor was driving by, was shot and killed by a stray bullet. Police had originally incorrectly listed Taylor’s name as Williams.
“I am pleased to announce the apprehension of the suspects involved in the Christmas Day homicide of Victor McClinton,” Pasadena police Chief Phillip Sanchez said Wednesday. Sanchez made the announcement a few hours after the print edition of the Weekly had been put to bed.
“The appropriate charges have been filed, and while this can’t bring Victor back to his family or his community, it is a step in the direction of bringing closure to the family. The Pasadena Police Department is firmly committed to finding all persons responsible for this senseless crime,” said the chief.
Other possible arrests in connection with the shooting were pending, Ibarra said.
Witness descriptions of the vehicle at the shooting scene may have led police to pursue a similar looking vehicle several hours after the shooting, one driven by Darrel Williams, 22. Williams, who was driving a silver Dodge Durango, barreled through a stop light at the intersection of North Marengo Avenue and Maple Street, killing Ong Tan and Ng.
Three others in the van — Kenric Ng, 49, Irene Ng, 52, and an unidentified 16-year-old girl — were taken to Huntington Hospital with serious injuries.
Taylor was listed in critical condition Monday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Sanchez said that, according to witnesses, McClinton and Taylor did not know one another. McClinton was standing on the curb of his property and Taylor was driving by when shots rang out.
“I hate to use the cliché that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he was,” Sanchez said of McClinton.
Later that evening, police spotted a late-model silver Dodge Durango sports utility vehicle — which looked similar to the vehicle police say Bishop was driving — and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. Just prior to the crash, Deputy Police Chief Darryl Qualls said a loaded handgun was discarded from the Durango during the chase.
After the collision, Williams was arrested, along with Pasadena residents Damauria Hannah, 22, Jada Mays, 18, and Los Angeles resident Brittany Washington, 22, on suspicion of murder in connection with the fatal accident. The three others were also in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
On Friday, Williams and Washington were each formally charged with two counts of murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted, they face life in prison. Hannah and Mays were not charged and were later released.
As of Monday, Williams was being held on $3.1 million bail. Washington was being held on $2.1 million bail, said Ibarra.
Ibarra told the Weekly the weapon thrown from the vehicle was not used in the shooting, according to ballistics tests.
Immediately after the shooting, Sanchez and Pasadena City Councilwoman Jacque Robinson rushed to Huntington Hospital to be at McClinton’s side.
“It’s just an incredibly sad situation,” Robinson said last week. The son of Robinson’s field representative, Tina Williams, played on a youth football team coached by McClinton which is part of Pasadena developer and Los Angeles Sentinel Publisher Danny Bakewell’s nonprofit Brotherhood Community Youth Sports League. Robinson said Tina Williams is no relation to Darrell Williams.
“Victor’s dedication did not stop with the youth,” Bakewell’s Brotherhood Crusade posted on its Web site. “He helped adults and children alike. From his easy smile to his selfless investment in others, Victor stood tall in the community. He truly embodied what community should be, and though this loss will be felt my many, his love and kindness will live on in each one of us.”
McClinton is survived by his wife, Shelly, and sons Kristian and Kameron.
Former Pasadena Star-News photographer Jonathan Alcorn, who worked on projects with McClinton at the Pasadena YMCA, told the Weekly he was stunned to hear about his friend’s death.
“It was shocking to hear gun violence has claimed the life of Victor,” Alcorn wrote in a Facebook message to this reporter. “He touched so many children’s lives working as a counselor at the YMCA and in youth sports, so his spirit will live on. We worked together at the Foothill YMCA for years and I had the privilege of photographing his wedding many years ago. He will definitely be missed by many.”
The Sheriff’s Department also mourned McClinton’s death.
“We lost an extraordinary person,” Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday. “The Sheriff’s Department, the city of Pasadena; all of us — this is a real tragedy.”
According to Whitmore, McClinton worked in the courts, doing whatever needed to be done, including assisting bailiffs, keeping hallways clear and delivering documents to judges.
The shooting was the second local incident in three days involving a sheriff’s employee. Around 3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, an unnamed deputy driving around the area of Harriet Street and Lincoln Avenue — less than one mile from the McClinton shooting — was riding in a vehicle with his brother when the two men came under fire. In that incident, a passenger in a dark-colored Lexus fired three times at the deputy, according to Qualls. The vehicle was hit once. No arrests have been made in that case, Qualls said.
Whitmore said both McClinton’s death and the shooting incident involving the off-duty deputy are being investigated by Pasadena police. Qualls said there appears to be no connection between to the two shooting incidents.
In his final Facebook post, just hours before the shooting, McClinton, a 1982 graduate of Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles who attended Pasadena City College, called for prayers for families who have lost loved ones over the past year.
“Merry Christmas to all, and may God have blessed you over the year. Please let’s not forget those less fortunate than us and those who have lost loved ones. Say a prayer for all. May God bless you in the upcoming year.”