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Suspect is arrested in shooting death of child


‘Road rage’ tragedy in Lancaster

A 29-year-old man suspected in the alleged road-rage shooting death of a 4-year-old boy in Lancaster is scheduled to be arraigned next month on murder and other charges.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Byron Burkhart was charged Tuesday with murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of shooting at an occupied vehicle and five counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. The charges include an allegation that he personally used a handgun in commission of the crime.

He was scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 22 at the Antelope Valley Courthouse. According to county jail records, he was being held in lieu of $2 million bail, although prosecutors were asking that his bail be increased to more than $5 million.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

A second suspect who was arrested in connection with the shooting, 27-year-old Alexandria Gentile, was not charged. Jail records show she was released from custody Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors identified her as Burkhart’s girlfriend.

Burkhart is charged in connection with the shooting that occurred about 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in the area of Sierra Highway and East Avenue J, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators said a driver cut off a vehicle that contained the boy, identified as Gor Adamyan, along with his father and his mother. The driver of the suspect vehicle then began following the family on local streets, eventually pulling alongside the passenger side of the victims’ vehicle and opening fire, officials said. Prosecutors said eight shots were fired.

The boy was sitting in the back seat and was struck by gunfire in the upper body. The parents rushed him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, a camera in the victims’ vehicle captured images of the suspect vehicle’s license plate. Sheriff’s officials said investigators located the suspects’ vehicle in the immediate area of the shooting and arrested the man and woman on suspicion of murder.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

A GoFundMe page established on behalf of the boy’s family had raised more than $1,600 as of Dec. 18.

According to the page, the family was heading to a store to purchase groceries when the shooting unfolded.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the Lancaster area, condemned the boy’s killing.

“This young boy’s death is shocking,” she said in a statement Monday. “A family is now inexplicably left without a child that meant everything to them. Our roadways are no place for this type of random and unacceptable violence. I want the suspects apprehended for this heinous murder to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”