Authorities said they believe that an innocent Black man was gunned down on a California freeway in August 2018 simply because of his skin color. Three days later, the accused gunman killed a second man.
Daniel Martinez, a documented gang member, was targeting African Americans when he spotted 27-year-old Samuel Ferguson on the freeway and fired at him in a car-to-car shooting, KNBC-TV reported Thursday.
“And of today it still doesn’t make sense. Knowing that somebody’s shooting people for no reason at all, based after race, just doesn’t sit well with me,” said Ferguson’s brother, Byron.
Prosecutors in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said Martinez, who allegedly had an AR-15 rifle, targeted Black people as part of his criminal street gang activities, KTLA-TV reported. He was charged in a criminal complaint with two murder counts, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of shooting from a motor vehicle, two counts of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and one count of possession of an assault weapon.
Ferguson of Cerritos was returning home on the 91 Freeway in Gardena from his job where he worked with special needs adults. Martinez, 30, allegedly opened fire on Ferguson as he drove by Ferguson’s car. Ferguson was struck multiple times and transported to UCI Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Martinez, an Inglewood resident, was also charged in the killing of Alhmond Davis three days after shooting Ferguson.
The gunman could face the death penalty or life behind bars if convicted, the DA’s office said.
There was more tragedy for the Ferguson family, which included nine siblings. They buried their mother two weeks ago after she died of health complications. But she lived long enough to see the suspect accused of killing her son arrested.
The family said it has been difficult to recover from the loss of their brother.
“I can’t even wrap my mind around what he must have felt like knowing someone was chasing him, firing several rounds at his car just because of the color of his skin,” Ferguson’s sister, Donna Cunningham, told KNBC-TV. “Just because he’s caught, it doesn’t lessen the pain. The pain is still there, but it’s good to know that he’s being brought to justice.”
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