"None of the victims at that party were gang members," Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said
deadly house party
Long Beach shooting crime scene
| Credit: CBS Los Angeles

A shooting at a Halloween party in Long Beach, California, last year that left three dead and nine wounded happened after gang members mistook the gathering for a party for a rival gang, police announced Tuesday.

“We now know his was a pre-planned attack on what the suspects incorrectly believed to be a party of rival gang members. And I want to clarify that none of the victims at that party were gang members,” Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said in a live-streamed press conference Tuesday.

Since the shooting that killed Maurice Poe, Jr., 25, Ricardo Torres, 28, and Melvin Williams II, 35, the homicide detectives working on the case retraced the suspects' steps in their three vehicles and reviewed extensive security camera footage over several months.

Starting September 3, authorities executed a total of 15 search warrants, seven in Long Beach and 8 over various cities throughout the state.

As a result, 12 people were arrested, with eight of those being charged in connection with the mass shooting, according to Luna and a press release by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

The Halloween-themed party that occurred on October 29, 2019 was made up of 25 to 30 partygoers, "innocent men and women at a family residence," who were celebrating in the house's backyard when they were fired upon from an alley at 10:40 pm, Luna said.

Ballistics confirmed that three different handguns were used, and during the recent execution of search warrants, eight firearms were seized including three "ghost guns." Ghost guns are guns created using different separately purchased parts and constructed by individuals at home without being registered and without serial numbers.

Three counts of murder and nine counts of attempted murder have been filed against David Heng Long, 20, Kaylin Thik, 21, Ryan Sim, 18, Jeremy Penh, 15, Christopher Williams, 18, Danny Sourn, 17, Joshua Sam, 41, and Grant Johnson, 35, all of Long Beach, the District Attorney's Office revealed in its press release. They also face gang and gun allegations.

Since the defendants allegedly committed murder while gang members, each of them is eligible for the death penalty and face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged.

While Long, whose arraignment has been continued until this Friday, made his initial court appearance last Friday, the seven other defendants' arraignments were scheduled Tuesday.

It is not immediately clear if the defendants have legal representation at this time or if they have entered pleas.

Out of the 12 arrests made in relation to this shooting, 10 were carried out over the several-day operation. At the time of those arrests, Sourn was already in custody on a 2018 murder case, while Penh was awaiting trial for an attempted murder case. Both cases are unrelated to the Halloween party shooting.

The case remains under investigation by the Long Beach Police Department.