Accused gang member pleads not guilty in fatal shooting of Escondido woman

Gang member pleads not guilty in fatal shooting
Posted at 4:01 PM, Mar 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 19:20:54-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - A gang member accused of killing an Escondido woman during a gang-related shooting last week plead not guilty to charges in a Vista courtroom Friday.

Dionicio Crespin Torrez Jr., 24, is being charged with murder, attempted murder of rival gang members and shooting at an occupied vehicle, leading to the death of 55-year-old Catherine Kennedy.

Torrez also faces a gang participation enhancement that could lead to the death penalty.

A judge denied Torrez bail.

RELATED: Gang turf war at center of fatal Escondido shooting

Police announced Thursday that Torrez Jr. and a 16-year-old male were arrested in connection with the homicide. Police believe Torrez Jr. was the gunman during the shooting.

On March 7, Kennedy was driving home from Bible study when she was struck by a stray bullet in the 1800 block of East Grand Avenue near Midway Drive.

Police said Torrez Jr. and another gang member spotted a rival gang member tagging across the street. Torrez Jr. reportedly opened fire on the rival gang member, fatal shooting Kennedy in the process.

The juvenile gang member is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

Police said there may be more arrests in connection with the shooting.

RELATED: Escondido police arrest two in connection with fatal shooting

Escondido police are still investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to contact them or Crime Stoppers at 760-743-8477 (TIPS). Calls may be left anonymously.