September 18, 1995
Web posted at: 8:20 a.m.
From Correspondent Jennifer Auther
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Crime is more than frightening stories and statistics, although sometimes it takes a brutal, senseless act to bring that fact home.
It's the ugly side of big city living: innocent people becoming victims of violence, just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
People liked 3-year-old Stephanie Kuhen. She died hours after she was shot. Joey, her 2-year-old brother, remains hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the foot.
It happened in northeast Los Angeles when Tim Stone turned his girlfriend's car the wrong way onto a tiny, dead end street. A street with graffiti that reads in Spanish, "street of killers".
Linda Dalton, Stephanie's grandmother, described how gang members ambushed a car carrying her daughter, son and three grandchildren. "They used trash cans or something to block the street; and at that time they realized that they had to get outta there! So they tried to go through the trash cans, and they opened fire on them," said Dalton.
Bullets missed Christopher Kuhen, 5, his mother Robynn, 26, and her brother, David Dalton, 22. Driver Tim Stone was hit in the back. "He was shot but he just kept driving and he brought them here," said Linda Dalton.
Neighbors on this dead-end street say gang members begin showing up about 6 p.m., as many as 60 at a time, on any given night. No one here tells them to turn down loud music from their car stereos. Neighbors say they just remain inside, hiding. "The families is (sic) scared! Everybody's scared- you know!" said a resident.
-- Lt. Harold Clifton, LAPD
"That gang, as well as others in that area, are getting more and more violent as time goes on; primarily because the police department just does not have the resources to handle that type of situation," said Lt. Harold Clifton of the Los Angeles police department.
Ironically, Stephanie Kuhen's murder comes just as elected officials called for "a week without violence" in Los Angeles. "We've had black victims, we've had brown victims, we've had white victims. We've had elderly people and we've had infants killed and that's unacceptable!" said Gil Garcetti, Los Angeles County district attorney.
But that's little consolation to family members. Tina Dalton, Stephanie Kuhen's aunt, has only one thing to say to her niece's killers: "They know that they did kill a baby! I hope they rot in hell (60K WAV sound)!" Dalton said through tears.
Tina Dalton says she's struggling to find a way to explain to her own daughter that little Stephanie can't come back to life with magic dust. Something the two girls believed after watching 'Beauty and the Beast'. Unfortunately, Stephanie Kuhen is gone forever.
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