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Family Says Slain Va. Teen Was Not Involved in a Gang

Two Other Youths Wounded in Shooting Friday

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 25, 2005; Page B01

Three posters from the movie "Scarface," the 1983 classic starring Al Pacino, decorate the walls of Tony Campos's bedroom. A few model cars made by the 14-year-old are proudly displayed on a small dresser. His basketball and backpack sit on a small black leather sofa.

As he walked through the bedroom yesterday afternoon, Johnny Campos, 23, said it is hard to comprehend that his younger brother, who was slain Friday evening in what Fairfax County police said might have been a gang-related shooting, never will be back to pick up the basketball or listen to music.

A memorial to Tony Campos in his family's living room in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County includes a photo of the 15-year-old Annandale High sophomore and rosary beads. (Dudley M. Brooks -- The Washington Post)

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"It is just as he left it," Johnny Campos said. Except, he said, for the dozens of white roses, baby's breath and carnations piled on Tony's bed.

Fairfax police said yesterday that detectives are piecing together the moments leading up to the shootings that killed Tony and wounded two other boys, ages 13 and 15. Police did not release the wounded boys' names and said only that they are recovering.

There have been no arrests, but police said they believe that the shootings were the latest spasm of gang violence in the region. Police did not say why they believe the shootings were gang-related or which gangs might have been involved. Tony's family members said he was not in a gang, and they disputed the age given by police, saying he was actually 15.

If it is gang-related, the slaying of the Annandale High School sophomore would mark at least the 11th such homicide in Northern Virginia since 2000, and possibly the second this year.

In a separate case, Arlington County police last night announced that a 17-year-old has been charged with murder in the Jan. 10 shooting of Jose Claudio Hernandez Araniva, a 24-year-old Woodbridge man who was killed as he sat in a parked Corvette in the 1700 block of South Edgewood Street.

Arlington police spokesman Matt Martin would not comment on whether the shooting was gang-related, but court documents indicate that authorities were investigating whether the shooting stemmed from a dispute between rival gangs. The suspect was not identified because he is a juvenile, and Martin said police are searching for a second suspect.

In recent years, gang members also have been linked to machete attacks, robberies, rapes and incidents of witness intimidation. The rise in gang violence in Northern Virginia, particularly cases involving teenagers, has prompted officials to funnel money and resources into gang investigations and prevention.

Area prosecutors have been working across jurisdictional lines, and federal authorities increasingly are involved in gang prosecutions. In Fairfax County, school officials have added new after-school programs to help keep middle school students out of gangs.

According to Fairfax police, Tony was with a 15-year-old friend about 8:30 p.m. Friday outside some condominiums at 5600 Bismach Drive, a few blocks from his home in the Alexandria section of the county, when two men walked up and one opened fire. The two youths, along with a 13-year-old who was standing in the building's foyer, were shot.

Officer Richard Henry, a police spokesman, declined to discuss the motive for the shootings, citing the investigation. But he said that detectives do not think the shooting was in retaliation for any gang violence.

Yesterday, Johnny Campos said that his brother probably knew some gang members but that he did not belong to a gang. "I just want it known for a fact," Johnny Campos said. "Tony was not involved in any gangs. He never affiliated with any gangs. Tony was not a gangbanger."

At the Campos home, friends and family members filed in yesterday. The dining room table, covered in a white cloth, was converted into a small shrine that included a silver cross, white candles and pictures of Tony playing with the family dogs and pushing his sister on a tricycle.

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