7 Latino Gang Members Charged in Boyle Heights Firebombing of Black Families

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A still from surveillance video shows attackers heading toward Ramona Gardens on May 12, 2014, before the firebomb attack. (Credit: KTLA)

A federal grand jury has indicted seven Latino gang members in connection with a 2014 firebombing attack at the Ramona Gardens housing project in Boyle Heights, accusing them of trying to drive black residents out of the neighborhood, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Federal prosecutors allege that the men – all described as members of the Big Hazard street gang – met before the attack, where Carlos Hernandez, 31, is accused of telling the group they were going to use Molotov cocktails to firebomb homes where black families lived.

While no one was injured in the May 12, 2014, firebombing, three of the four apartments targeted were occupied by black families, recalling uneasy times from decades ago when similar attacks prompted most African Americans to flee the housing project.

“The defendants used firebombs to drive the victims from their homes because of their race,” Vanita Gupta, a principal deputy assistant attorney, said in a statement. “This is a hate crime. Such violence and intimidation have no place in our society.”

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