Three men have been arrested in connection with the July fatal shooting of a gang interventionist and community advocate in South Los Angeles, officials announced Wednesday.
Garry Dorton, 48, was with friends outside a residence in the 4500 block of South Van Ness Boulevard on July 1. A vehicle with three occupants drove by, parked a short distance away and two people opened fire on Dorton, Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Peter Whittingham said during a news conference Wednesday.
The father of five young children eventually died from his injuries.
Whittingham said there is nothing in the investigation to indicate Dorton provoked anybody, but investigators believe he was targeted. Family members said he was a former gang member himself, who had turned his life around.
Brandon Dixon, 24, Dejone Wright, 20, and an 18-year-old, were arrested in connection with the shooting. The three men have each been charged with murder and four counts of attempted murder, Whittingham said. The 18-year-old was a juvenile at the time of the shooting and is believed to have been one of the shooters. He is being held without bail.
Ben Owens, Dorton’s supervisor at Soledad Enrichment Action, said that Dorton was more than his employee, he was his friend.
“The great work that he’s done will impact lives for a very, very long time in the city of Los Angeles,” Owens said. “Despite the fact that the work that we do in the gang intervention world is extremely dangerous, he put his life on the line for peace.”
“Gary was one of the good guys,” Whittingham said. He added that Dorton helped motivate and inspire young men in the community by trying to keep them out of a life of crime.
Family members wore T-shirts showing Dorton’s face with and his youth softball team’s logo.
His aunt said he hopes to continue Dorton’s legacy by starting a foundation to help youth in the community. His twin brother said that despite the loss, he is happy to get closure with the arrests.
Dorton’s grandmother, Eula Hooks, said her grandson was shot on her birthday. He had stopped by her house to wish her well that day.
“I always tried to get him to move out of that community, but he loved that community,” Hooks said. “It’s hard for me to talk about it because it was on my birthday. I even awaken at night thinking about my poor baby.”
Editor’s note: The name of a teenage suspect, along with two embedded videos, were removed from this story after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office decided to charge the 18-year-old in juvenile court and no longer include his name in news releases.