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2 Held After Teen Dies Of Gunshot

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A 15-year-old boy who was allegedly breaking into a backyard shed containing marijuana was shot to death Sunday morning, authorities said.

The boy was identified as Jacob Walker of Paramount, said Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Sheriff's Department Headquarters Bureau.

Detectives have arrested the homeowner and alleged gunman, Jerry Cress, 57, as well as Walker's alleged accomplice, Duane Berry, 24, of Paramount, on suspicion of murder.

Berry was arrested because the shooting happened during the commission of a felony, said Hecht.

Lt. Al Grotefend told KCAL9 that Cress has stage three liver cancer and a prescription for medical marijuana. Cress told Grotefend that he was growing 15 marijuana plants in his shed and alleged that the men were trying to steal them.

Lakewood sheriff's deputies responded to a 6:26 a.m. burglary call at a house on the 8500 block of Park Street near the Artesia ( 91 ) Freeway, said Deputy Anthony Moore.

Cress told arriving deputies he saw two black males breaking into a shed behind his home, Moore said.

Cress said he confronted the two men and saw that one of them was armed with a hammer, the deputy said.

Cress said he feared for his safety and shot three rounds at the men with a pellet gun, hitting one of them in the upper torso, Moore said.

The two men fled on foot, Cress said.

Walker, who was shot in the upper torso, turned up at a local hospital and later died of his injuries, Hecht said.

It is still not clear whether the pellet gun was actually the weapon that killed Walker, Hecht said.

Detectives believe Walker was one of the men involved in the burglary, Hecht said. Berry is believed to be Walker's brother, she added.

Berry was arrested on suspicion of murder because the shooting occurred while Berry and Walker were allegedly in the act of committing a felony burglary, Hecht said.

"When the partner, the person he's with, is murdered, you're considered culpable," Hecht said.

Both Berry and Cress are being held without bail at the Lakewood Sheriff's Station, Hecht said.

Detectives are continuing their investigation and the case will be turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to determine what charges, if any, will be brought, Moore said.

Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Contact: http://www.presstelegram.com/writealetter
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