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Gang member sentenced to life without parole for teen's killing in Linda Vista

Prison bars
Posted at 1:36 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 18:25:24-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A gang member who opened fire on a group of teens in Linda Vista -- killing a 16-year-old boy in the process -- was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Andy Phonsongkham, 22, was convicted by a San Diego jury for the May 23, 2019, drive-by slaying of Carlos Valdovinos, who was shot at around 6 p.m. on Kelly Street.

Prosecutors allege the killing was a retaliatory attack after a member of Phonsongkham's gang was assaulted by rivals. The defendant then drove to the Linda Vista neighborhood to search for rival gang members, pulled up near Valdovinos and a group of other boys, and opened fire, killing Valdovinos, while the gunfire missed three of the victim's friends, who prosecutors describe as boys ranging in age from 14 to 16. Bullets also struck a nearby home where two children -- an 8-year-old and 14-year-old -- were home alone, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

Phonsongkham was convicted of first-degree murder, with a special circumstance allegation of shooting from a vehicle, triggering the life without parole term. He received an additional 163 years and four months to life for various other charges, including attempted murder, shooting at an occupied residence, and gun-use allegations.

Prosecutors say surveillance footage and witness descriptions helped identify Phonsongkham as the shooter.