Two alleged Compton gang members plead not guilty Friday in the murder of 22-year-old Long Beach resident Robert Proano, who was shot and killed February 10 while walking down Artesia Blvd. with his girlfriend.

The fatal shooting occurred on Artesia Blvd. and Myrtle Ave. at around 1:50PM February 10 and was the first of three gang-related murders to occurr in North Long Beach within a span of a few weeks.

A month after the murder, 25-year-old Joe Anthony Avila and 17-year-old Jonathan Isaiah Buckner were arrested in connection with the killing, which prosecurots say was committed “for the benefit and at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang.” According to Deputy District Attorney Dean Bengston of the Hardcore Gang Division, Proano was approached by Avila and Buckner and asked where he was from, at which point Bucknet punched Proano in the face.

“As the victim tried to fight back, Avila reportedly pulled out a gun and shot him,” Bengston said. “Proano stumbled to a median, collapsed and later died. The defendants then fled the scene.”

Both Avila and Buckner were arrested and charged with first degree murder, with Avila receiving an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. Buckner is being tried as an adult and is being held on $2M bail.

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