LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – Twelve people were arrested in connection with mass shootings last October during a Halloween party in Long Beach that killed three men and injured nine others.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna announced that the suspects were members of a gang who mistakenly believed they had opened fire on rival gang members, even though no one who attended the party was a member of a gang was.
"It was a pre-planned attack on a group of rival gang members that the suspect mistakenly believed," Luna said.
Luna said 10 of the 12 suspects were arrested during a multi-day operation across California that resulted in multiple law enforcement agencies issuing 15 search warrants. The other two suspects were already in custody for murder and attempted murder. No names were published immediately.
Seven of these warrants were issued in Long Beach and eight in various other cities. Eight firearms were confiscated, including three ghost rifles.
The warrants were part of an investigation into the shooting that took place in a house on the 2700 block of 7th Street on the night of October 29, 2019.
Back in July, police released a surveillance video of three SUVs – a Toyota 4Runner, a Toyota Rav4, and a Silver Chrysler PT Cruiser – that investigators believed might have caught suspects on the night of the North Long Beach murders on the 7th Street home.
The suspects opened fire on an alley in the back yard of the house, where 25 to 30 people were partying. Three men were killed and nine others – including seven women and two men – wounded.
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Eight suspects actually drove to the alley, but only three opened fire, Luna said. Ballistics confirmed that shots were fired from three different handguns.
"Eight cowardly suspects, all from a local Long Beach gang and parked in the alley, headed for the fence to shoot in the back yard," Luna said.
Luna described the case on Tuesday as "extremely complex and detailed". The three suspected shooters are among those arrested.
"We believe we have the three gunmen responsible for the indiscriminate shooting in this backyard. We expect the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office will charge them all with murder," he said.
Luna added that the majority of the remaining nine suspects are likely to face murder as well, while some of them could face gun violence.