By: Nicole Darrah


Two rival gang members were charged with murder in California Friday after a toddler died during a shootout inside a Compton liquor store in January, officials announced.

Dwayne Ward, 30, and Kevaughn Harris, 27, were charged with murder, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon. The men were shooting each other -- and 3-year-old Franklin Ponros was caught in the crossfire and died, a news release from the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office stated.

On Jan. 20, Harris walked toward a car — where his girlfriend and Franklin were sitting inside — when Ward, who was sitting in a parked car nearby, spotted him and the two started yelling at each other, investigators said. "Both men, who were rival gang members, allegedly pulled out handguns and began firing at one another."

Security footage appeared to show Harris fired the first shot, KTLA reported. The child's mother was seen driving away when it was discovered Ponros was bleeding.

Ponros died. His mother wasn't injured.

On a GoFundMe page, Ponros was described as "full of life. He was always so positive and had a warm smile."

The page added, "Unfortunately, he was in the middle of a crossfire and his life ended short."

Both Ward and Harris were scheduled to be arraigned at the Compton Courthouse Friday. The district attorney's office said if both men are convicted under the charges, they face possible life sentences in prison.