March 9th, 2010
10:15 PM ET

Two brothers, two homicides, still no justice

Program Note: Five years ago we reported on gang violence in the Los Angeles community of Hollenbeck. This week, all week, we follow up on the neighborhood. Through the eyes of cops, criminals and crusaders, we witness the corrosive effects of violence and what's being done to prevent it. We take you inside the investigations of homicides as they unfold in a community where 30 percent of all killings remain unsolved. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/t1.brockbrothers.jpg caption="Angel Candia and his younger brother Ronald Brock were killed in a gang related shooting in the same year." width=300 height=169]

Stan Wilson
CNN Producer

When Soledad Brock visits the Odd Fellows cemetery in the Hollenbeck community of Los Angeles, she mourns the death of her two sons, Ronald Brock and Angel Candia. One was a U.S. Marine with no ties to gangs. The other was a gang member. Both were victims of gang violence – gunned down in the same year, in front of the house in which they grew up.

“People tell me its time to move on and forget but I don’t think anyone understands that your whole life was gone seven years ago,” said Brock.

Seven years after their deaths, five years after we first reported their stories, detectives believe they know who killed one of Brock’s sons but there is a surprise development in both cases.

Soledad Brock raised her sons, Angel and Ronald, as a single mother in the Hollenbeck community just east of downtown Los Angeles. She said she tried to keep her sons close to home and away from the lure of street gangs. “You hear of people getting shot and people getting killed and I didn’t want that for my boys,” said Brock.

Ronald managed to avoid that path but Angel joined one of Hollenbeck’s 34 street gangs. The more entrenched Angel became in the gang, the more he wanted something better for his younger brother, so he urged Ronald to enlist in the Marines, his mother said.

After boot camp training at Camp Pendleton and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Ronald told his mother that he was about to deploy overseas. “I honestly didn't want him to go. I didn't want my son killed,” Brock said.

Before his deployment, Ronald returned home for a weekend visit with his family and girlfriend. Brock said Ronald was planning to propose to his girlfriend but when he arrived at his mother’s house, he was confronted by gang members. Moments later there were gunshots.

“I remember running outside and I was calling for him and he didn’t answer,” she said. “I think as a mother your reaction is, you’re waiting for him to be standing.” She said he was shot twice in the head, four times in the back and his hand was shot off. Ronald was just 19-years-old when he was killed. He was buried with military honors.

For seven months, Brock said she fell into a deep depression and rarely ventured outside of her house. Then, one night she was haunted a second time when her son Angel was apparently surprised by rival gang members. According to the autopsy report, more than 70 rounds were fired. One of those bullets was fatal.

Detective Dewaine Fields, supervisor of the Hollenbeck gang unit believes Ronald’s death was a terrible case of mistaken identity. “He was in his brother’s gang neighborhood where his home is,” said Fields. “He had his head shaved because he’s a United States Marine. Most of the gangsters have shaved heads, they thought he was a gang member. And there’s no evidence whatsoever to lead me to believe he was. Wrong place, the wrong time, mistaken identity.”

Detective Fields told CNN that no one has come forward with information about the case. “We’ve narrowed it down to two enemy gangs, two enemy gangs and two people in each of those enemy gangs that we’ve narrowed it down to or that we believe are probably responsible in some way or another.. but we’re hearing two different stories,” he said.

Detective Fields says he needs an eyewitness or another gang member to come forward and identify Ronald Brock’s killer.

But gangs only need to make a few examples to send a message. Take the case of Bobby Singleton, a homeless man who was murdered to prevent him from testifying against a gang member. Singleton’s body was discovered under a Los Angeles bridge. He had been shot in the head and neck five times. Police say the murder was designed to send a warning for others not to speak to police.

In the shooting death of Angel Candia, detective Fields believes he knows who killed him, but there is a dilemma. “He was approached by a couple different gang members, rival gang members, he and another fellow and, a major gunfight ensued,” said Fields.

Fields says the problem is that although he knows how many guns were involved he doesn’t know who pulled the trigger first. He said it’s even possible that Angel shot first and that he was “hit by friendly fire because he was shot in the back of the head.”

Fields went on to say that although the people involved were arrested, the District Attorney decided not to file the case because of the ambiguity. He says he thinks witnesses are hesitant to say who pulled the trigger.

Letting go in Hollenbeck is hard for Soledad Brock. Her sons now lie side by side in a cemetery.

But there is a surprise twist in Ronald Brock’s life and tragic death. Two days before he was killed, Ronald learned his girlfriend was pregnant.

His daughter, Ronnie Angeline Brock is now 7- years-old and is named after her father and uncle. “She looks like him the way she smiles the way she talks the way she walks,” Brock said. “He would have been a great father.”

Each morning Soledad Brock says a prayer for justice and a prayer for her sons Ronald and Angel and for the little girl who will grow up never knowing either of them.

Filed under: Homicide in Hollenbeck
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. adela brock

    I am the daughter of soledad brock. I want to thank everyone for your prayers and the understanding of our pain. We know we're not the only family that has gone through a tragedy like this but we like to show other families that we're all in this together and how we all need to be strong in order to go on. My mother is the strongest person I have ever known and she continues to have a pure and gentle heart after all that has happen to her. Thank you all again.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • josierangelboyleheights

      I came across this never imagine this was online i know ronnie's anniversary is this month. I will keep having you & your mom in my prayers. Your brother always made me laugh

      February 3, 2016 at 2:00 am |
  2. Reggie Smith

    It takes a villiage to raise a child. But when the village itself is in turmoil the indians act as if they are on the warpath. –me
    The problem starts with us men... It is our duty and calling to raise our children with love. These kids have no love. No respect. No authority... Which brings me to the authorities, the majority of them only collect a paycheck. They do not have the resources available to them to make a difference in these neighborhoods. Ultimately, it falls on the guys carrying the guns. IF YOU HAVE TO FIGHT YOUR BATTLES WITH GUNS, YOU'RE A COWARD!!!!!!! SIMPLE AS THAT. They can't verbally deal with confrontation and are too chicken s#@*^ to deal with issues man to man and toe to toe....

    March 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  3. tina

    My sympathy to all those who have lost someone to gang violence. I live in the Midwest, and our area is not very diverse. I often hear that "these young people should get jobs, should stay off drugs, should not join gangs." People in this community do not understand that when you are born into that situation it's not that easy. They think you can just get up and leave, or go out and find a job. I believe that kind of attitude is a big problem. Most people who live outside that kind of environment have no idea how difficult it is to get away from it or avoid a life of crime. I wish I had the answers, but I don't. All I can do is give this lame comment.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  4. Heather in SoCal

    Unfortunately this is not surprising. My sister was killed in a gang-related shooting over 30 years ago and the cops didn't even try to solve it.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  5. kara

    Gangs should be not aloud. And if such a gang noticed should be arrested. Violence has reached the highest in such this world is now a violent place to step into. A daughter should not grow up like this and a mother should not have to loose to sons because a gang or gang member has the audacity to murder such people. Gangs need to be stopped. Government needs to take a stand in this so called world, and stop helping Iraq and help the ones with issues such as them. Since one was a U.S Marine.

    thank you.
    reply if you feel the need to.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  6. Tamara

    I Think you have all left valid and interesting comments! Amen, RENEE!!!!

    March 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  7. cynthia

    We heard from the mother of these boys. Where is their dad? Where are the men in these neighborhoods and why aren't they stepping up and protecting their families? Fathers step up and be part of the solution and not the problem !! And if you make babies, marry their mother !

    March 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  8. Jacqui

    I am so sorry to hear of this unbearable tragedy. This is enough to break any mother's heart. My prayers go out to Soledad.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  9. mary beth

    i agree with ruth, Soledad, your in my prayers

    March 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  10. William

    Gangs form as the result of a lack of education and a vicious cycle of indoctrination. These punks have no concept of the pain they inflict on one another and their respective communities.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  11. Marie

    It's sad this has been going on for many years now. Gangs need a more intense punishment than prison. Prison just makes these gangs stronger they don't make them weaker. I agree with Ignacio, Violent Gangs in the United States should be declared terrorist organizations and treat them as such. I'm tired, being a tax payer and having our tax dollars being used for people who are just damaging our communities and killing innocent people. I don't know Ms.Brock, my condolences are with her and her family. Hopefully her granddaughter will enjoy the good her dad was doing by joining the military and serving his country. Wish you the best, believe in Karma. The murderers will get punish, sometime it takes longer than we wish.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  12. bob

    Are the cops saying they can't even level a capital murder charge against known gang members? What are they waiting for exactly?

    March 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  13. Qiana

    I'm truely saddened to hear of your misfortune. I lost both of my brothers within a year of each other (a year and 1 week exactly), so I know your pain. Nothing anyone can do or say will make the pain go away. You just have to put one foot in front of the other, continuing to move forward, and take life one day at a time. This world is a horrible place and you have to find a small bit of joy where ever you can.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  14. Summerd

    My prayers and sympathies go out to this family and all families who suffer these kinds of crimes. The loss of someone so young – your son, brother, uncle, friend – always leaves a hole in your heart and a tear in your life. I pray for peace in your souls and lives.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  15. Joy

    How terrible! I feel sorry for the mom. How much pain can a mother bear? I will be praying for her and her grandchild.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  16. y

    kill them one by one

    March 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  17. y

    I would have to go after the gangs myself if it were my kids. Why not, nothing to lose.

    March 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  18. Ann

    Families should just move out of the area into safer places (sacrifices need to be done if one wants safety) and leave a ghost town to the gang members, it will be easier for the police to point them out and arrest them.

    March 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  19. Desiree Lykes

    What a tragic story . My heart goes out to this mother. I too have two sons and I wouldn't know if i could make it if i lost them. I also know whats it's like to live around violence. I grew up in Buffalo New York in the late 60's and early 70's. Gangs were all over the place. Death was on every other door step. The laws should crack down harder on these gang members.

    March 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  20. rtw24

    I had a friend that joined a gang, because he felt like nobody cared and appreciated him, he was just a loner and had a hard time finding the right friends. His family was very low middle class and life just wasn't I guess going for him the way he wanted to. I'm not sure what are his where abouts as I haven't heard from him for over 2-3 years.

    Sucks that not everyone can live like everybody else and our society is separated into groups of poor or rich and cool and uncool and so on......

    R.I.P. to both brothers, really sad 🙁

    March 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  21. Too Sad

    If they were police officers, they would be caught or dead by now. So, it is lack of tenacity on the part of the police officers....period

    March 10, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  22. TTGA

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  23. Teresa Zamudio

    Soledad Brock, we all feel your pain, You know I went through this with Damazo, who also was Angel's very good friend!! Bless you for being a strong Woman!! Love you, Barbie!

    March 10, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  24. Tamara

    When are we going to realize we are at WAR in our own country? And who has ever won a war by letting EVIL have its way. Where is God in these tight knit communities. I pray that God touches these young peoples souls while they are still alive.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  25. eddie

    i live in WEST los angeles...in a quiet neighborhood free from violence. its amazing the things i take for granted, when an opposite world exists just a few miles away. my heart goes out to ronnie angeline...shes the real victim here.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  26. Ruth

    I think its time that money was spent on solving the Gang problem. Dealing with LA and young people who look from the outside and find that the gangs feel an empty whole. Life is to cheap in the eyes of a majority of people who can not understand, and see these young people as criminals.
    I see them as lost souls and the root course starts at home, giving families more support might start changing the Gang problem.
    At the moment the attraction is to great. My sympathy goes out to all those lost souls.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  27. Renee

    re: "Government should be able to replicate what is being done in Afghanistan, namely make civilians feel safe and work with gang members to quit their gang. Offer them a way out including education,' The government already offered them an education, it's called the public school system which is already funded by tax payers. There are already programs in place to return to school, get a GED and more programs designed to help lower income, minority groups than for the tax payers who fund all of this crap. People who say, 'The government should do this," and "The government should do that," need to be reminded that the government is not a business, 100% of funding comes from tax payers. Personally this tax payer is tired of footing the bill for lazy, useless bums who feed off of the system.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  28. Teresa Zamudio

    This goes on daily in these neighborhoods. What about all the other killings, like Damazo Olmedo, the father of my two sons, who's looking for his killers?? He too was killed in this area and NO JUSTICE has been made for My boys and My Family!!

    March 10, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  29. Ignacio Acosta

    Two suggestions: A.- Since witnesses are afraid to come forward, is there any way to set up concealed cameras all around the most dangerous streets? Will the government be brave enough and concerned enough to fund such a project? Convince them that if the problem is not solved soon, it will spill into their own suburbs.

    B.- Declare all gangs that uses violence a terrorist organization and treat them as such. Government should be able to replicate what is being done in Afghanistan, namely make civilians feel safe, and work with gang members willing to quit their gang. Offer them a way out including education. That should do it!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm |

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