Witness: Shooters 2 men in his gang
Accused targeted rival, teen relates
FORT SMITH — A 17-year-old testified Tuesday that he saw two fellow gang members spray bullets from assault-style rifles into a trailer that killed an 18-year-old member of a rival gang.
Jorge Chirinos, a Northside High School student, told a Sebastian County Circuit Court jury that he agreed to testify truthfully about the shooting death of 18-year-old Justin Lopez in return for unspecified lenience in his sentence.
Bryan Porras, 20, is on trial before a jury of seven men and five women, accused of firing some of the more than 40 rounds from assault-style rifles into the trailer at 2315 N. Ninth St. in Fort Smith on Jan. 14. Inside the trailer were Lopez and his friend Trey Miller. Miller, whose father owned the trailer, was not injured.
Chirinos testified that the other man shooting that night was Alberto Chavez, 20. Chavez is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 27.
One of the bullets from the barrage lasting 10 to 20 seconds struck Lopez in the back of the head, ripped through his brain to the front of his skull and killed him instantly, Assistant Arkansas Medical Examiner Jennifer Forsyth testified.
A fragment of the bullet Forsyth removed from Lopez’s head was examined by Arkansas Crime Laboratory firearms and tool mark examiner Jennifer Floyd. She told jurors the fragment was from a bullet fired from the AR-15-style rifle that Chirinos said Chavez was shooting that night. He said Porras was shooting an AK-47-style rifle.
Chirinos, Porras, Chavez and Ryan Oxford, 20, all mem-
bers of the Slanga 96 gang, are charged with first-degree murder, eight counts of committing a felony with a firearm and seven counts of committing a terrorist act. Porras also is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
They are being tried separately. In addition to Porras and Chavez, Oxford is scheduled to go on trial Dec. 18 and Chirinos on Jan. 8.
Testimony concluded in the trial Tuesday. Circuit Judge Michael Fitzhugh told jurors they will hear instructions and closing arguments and begin deliberations starting at 9 a.m. today.
Chirinos testified that the Slanga 96 gang didn’t like the Clout Boys gang of which Lopez was a member. Pictures and videos that police extracted from Porras’ phone showed him and others holding guns, posing with them and pointing them at the camera. Written on one of the pictures were the letters CBK, which Chirinos said stood for Clout Boy Killer.
Porras led the four on a search for Lopez on Jan. 14 that took them to a wedding at the Fort Smith Convention Center. Testimony earlier in the trial was that Porras was angry because he believed Lopez disrespected the Slanga gang.
Chirinos said Porras and Chavez questioned two men at the wedding, with Porras threatening one of them if he didn’t tell where they could find Lopez. The man, Jaime Aceves-Garcia, told Porras he had bought marijuana from Lopez earlier in the evening at Miller’s father’s trailer, a hangout for Lopez, Miller and others.
Porras drove them straight to the location and pulled into the alley next to the trailer in Miller’s backyard, Chirinos said.
Porras got out of the car and went into the backyard just far enough to see that someone was inside the trailer, Chirinos said. He ran back into the alley yelling “shoot, shoot,” and the shooting began. Chirinos said he and Oxford stood next to Porras’ car while Porras and Chavez fired into the trailer.
Porras drove them back to the wedding, saying it would be their alibi about where they were when the shooting occurred, Chirinos said.
Police investigators arriving at the trailer questioned Miller who said he thought Porras was responsible for the killing. Police moved quickly that night to round up the gang members, witnesses and evidence to piece together the story of how Lopez was killed.