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Police Arrest 3 For Gang Shooting That Killed Toddler In Family Car

Sun., Sept. 24, 1995

Three people were arrested in the ambush-slaying of a 3-year-old girl, who was shot when the car she was riding in accidentally turned down a gang-infested street, police said Saturday.

The arrests were made Friday night, just hours after witnesses failed to pick a fourth suspect, Vincent Caldera, out of a police lineup, Lt. John Dunkin said. Police still consider Caldera a suspect, but no charges were immediately filed.

The three people were booked for investigation of murder, Dunkin said. Their identities were withheld to preserve the integrity of future lineups, he said.

Details of the arrests probably won’t be released until Monday, Dunkin said.

Stephanie Kuhen died from a gunshot wound to the head last Sunday after the Ford Thunderbird she was in was fired on by gang members in the Cypress Park area north of downtown Los Angeles.

Stephanie’s brother, 2-year-old Joseph, was shot in the foot, and the driver, Timothy Stone, suffered a minor back wound. Other family members were not injured.

Stone thought he was taking a short cut home when he turned took a wrong turn down a dead-end. Gang members encircled the car and opened fire as Stone drove away.

Caldera, 23, was arrested Wednesday in the slaying. Although he is not charged with Stephanie’s death, he will remain in custody for investigation of parole violations and traffic warrants, Dunkin said.

Friends contend Caldera couldn’t have taken part in the shooting because he was out of town last weekend at a family gathering.

Mayor Richard Riordan, who discussed gang problems Friday with President Clinton in nearby Santa Monica, will propose that the City Council designate Oct. 15 a day of mourning for children killed and injured by gangs.

He also is seeking $5 million in federal aid to boost local gang-fighting efforts.

“Any day a child dies in this country, it is a national tragedy,” Riordan said. “My heart goes out to any family when a child is taken in early life. The sorrow that family has today will last for years to come.”

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