Man charged with murder in skateboard shooting

SAN DIEGO - The stepfather of a teen-ager shot to death while videotaping skateboarding friends suffered a heart attack during an emotionally charged hearing Friday at which the victim's father screamed insults at his son's alleged killer.

Ruben Tadepa, 44, pleaded innocent to murder and was ordered held without bail. The murder count also carries an allegation of using a gun, and Tadepa faces a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in prison on each charge.

Tadepa is accused of shooting Ray Huffman three times on Tuesday night while Huffman's friends performed skateboarding tricks in the neighborhood for a video project for Huffman's drama class.

Residents of the Lomita area say Tadepa had complained of the skateboarding in the past but the teens weren't troublemakers.

Huffman's father, Ray Lang, interrupted the arraignment by trying to give the defendant pictures of his son.

''I would like to present pictures of my child to this murderer and give them to him and let him remember what my son looks like so he can look at him every day of his life,'' Lang said through his tears.

He then shouted, ''Burn in hell'' and other angry remarks before apologizing to the judge for the disruption.

Tadepa remained standing, facing the judge and with his back to Lang.

Earlier, Huffman's stepfather, William Huffman, slumped in his seat and clutched his chest while waiting for the hearing to begin. He asked paramedics to let him stay, but they took him to a hospital.

Prosecutor Kristen Amador said Tadepa shot Huffman because he was upset about teens riding their skateboards near his car, then threatened Huffman's younger brother, telling him, ''Want to try this, too?''

The boys had deliberately taken their video project several houses away from Tadepa's home, she said, because he had frightened them the day before with threats.

The project, ''Skateboard Survivor,'' was to be turned in Friday.

After the shooting, police said, Tadepa drove away in his car, returning a short time later and ignoring their orders to drop his rifle. When he pointed it at them, officers said, they opened fire and wounded him slightly.


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