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Police arrest 2 teenagers in killing of 2 boys in California

UNION CITY, Calif. — Two teenage gang members have been arrested and charged in the November killings of two boys that stunned a San Francisco Bay Area community, authorities announced Friday.

Jason Cornejo, 18, of Castro Valley, and a 17-year-old boy from Hayward were charged Thursday with the murders of Sean Withington, 14, and Kevin Hernandez, 11, said Union City Police Chief Jared Rinetti.

The boys were fatally shot on Nov. 23 while sitting in a minivan in the parking lot of Searles Elementary School in Union City.

The teenage suspects are members of a gang but officials didn’t name it during a news conference Friday citing the ongoing investigation. A motive in the killings remains under investigation, authorities said.

They were charged with two counts of murder with gang enhancements, said Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy.

“These killings were done with the benefit, direction and association of a criminal street gang,” he said.

Both suspects were already in-custody on unrelated charges.

Cornejo is scheduled to be arraigned later Friday.

Rinetti said five law enforcement department and the state’s attorney general’s office helped in the investigation.

The killings happened “when an outside gang came into Union City to wreak havoc,” Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci said.

Police in January released a surveillance camera image of a silver car they believe the suspects used. They also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

The Union City Police Department said in a statement Thursday its officers “in co-ordination with partner agencies have been dedicating countless hours to bring justice to the families of the victims and closure to the community.”

New Haven Unified School District Superintendent John Thompson said the boys attended schools in the district.

Police Lt. Steve Mendez said there was no sign of a connection between the shooting and the school where it took place. People occasionally gather in the relatively secluded parking lot, Mendez said.

The Associated Press

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