Gang turf war at center of fatal Escondido shooting

Posted at 11:44 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-17 14:55:10-04

The Escondido Police Department says the death of Catherine Kennedy was a direct result of an ongoing gang war in the city. 

Police Lt. Justin Murphy said Escondido is home to 400 gang members. Most are in two gangs: one in the east part of town and the other in the west. 

“This is not what (Catherine Kennedy) signed up for and she’s the victim of this tragic crime,” said Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter at an afternoon news conference.

At the same conference Thursday, the Chief announced the arrest of two people connected to Kennedy's shooting. One, a 24-year-old male gang member and the other a 16-year-old male gang member. 

RELATED: Escondido police arrest two in connection with fatal shooting

Carter said the older of the two pulled the trigger.

Kennedy, 55, had just left bible study on March 7. She was driving down E. Grand near Midway when she was struck in the head by a bullet. 

RELATEDDriver killed in crossfire of gang shootout on way home from Bible study

Police said the gang member was shooting at a rival who was in their turf, tagging across the street.

Murphy said gang shootings are down over the last three years, from nearly 50 to about 40 last year.
He said officers have confiscated more guns and made more arrests.

Now, the police chief said they will go after landlords who knowingly rent to gang members.

RELATED: Escondido police chief warns landlords that rent to gang members