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Two Suspects Charged in 2017 Santa Monica "Party Bus" Shooting

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By Jorge Casuso

October 23, 2019 -- Two suspects have been charged in the high-profile "party bus" shooting near the Santa Monica Pier that left a young woman dead and injured three others nearly two years ago.

Cameron LeeRon Simmons

The Los Angeles County District Attorney on Friday charged Cameron Lee with homicide and Ron Simmons with attempted murder and gang enhancement, Santa Monica police said Wednesday.

In addition, Lee and Simmons were charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and using a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said.

The two suspects were identified while in custody on unrelated cases, according to police.

Cameron Lee (top) and Ron Simmons (Booking photos courtesy Santa Monica Police Department)

The charges come nearly two years after De'Ommie De La Cruz, who was celebrating her 28th birthday on a party bus with friends, was killed by a stray bullet shortly before 1 a.m. on November 4, 2017.

The bus had parked along Ocean Avenue and Colorado Boulevard so De La Cruz and her friends could take a bathroom break, police said.

"Several occupants exited the bus onto Ocean Avenue and got into an altercation with occupants of another bus" parked on the street, said Lt. Candice Cobarrubias, the Police Department spokesperson.

The confrontation resulted in "several suspects firing multiple rounds into one of the buses," Cobarrubias said.

De La Cruz, who had returned with her friends from the bathroom break, was struck by one of the bullets.

The bus drove to the Santa Monica Public Safety Facility (PSF) "with additional gunshot victims on board," Cobarrubias said.

De La Cruz and two other victims were transported to a local hospital where she died from her injuries from the gunshot wound, police said.

Two other victims were hospitalized in stable condition, while a fourth suffered minor injuries and was not hospitalized.

After the shooting, witnesses said they saw two or three men flee westbound in Palisades Park and jump over a railing towards Pacific Coast Highway, police said.

The suspects eluded capture until February of this year, when Santa Monica police arrested Lee, 22, as a person of interest.

The Department had not released any further information on that or any other arrest related to the shooting until announcing the charges in a press release Wednesday.

"Santa Monica Criminal Investigations Division and partnering agencies worked relentlessly to identify the suspects of this shooting," the release said.

"The case is pending trial and more information regarding the case will be shared as the trial concludes."

Last November, relatives of De La Cruz and five friends who were with her on the bus sued the City and the company that owned the bus.

The friends allege they suffered from emotional distress after witnessing De La Cruz's death while police stood by ("Friends and Relatives of Party Bus Shooting Victim Sue City," November 29, 2018).

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