Twenty Riverside residents with alleged ties to a local street gang and suspected of illegally possessing guns and drugs were arrested during a two-day sweep that concluded today.
"Operation Rain Cross" was conducted by Riverside police, with the assistance of county, state and federal law enforcement officials, according to Sgt. Dan Russell.
He said investigators initiated the sweep in hopes of gathering evidence connected with four unsolved homicides that have occurred on the east side of the city in the last two years, including one involving a teenage boy.
"Investigators believe members of East Side Riva, a criminal street gang located in the Eastside neighborhood, are responsible for the homicides," Russell said.
According to the sergeant, 22 search warrants were served and numerous parole and probation compliance checks were performed as part of Operation Rain Cross.
Russell said suspects were arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and controlled substances.
One of the unsolved cases that detectives have yet to crack is the Feb. 23, 2012 shooting death of 14-year-old Lareanz Simmons. The Poly High School Junior Army ROTC cadet was walking to his grandmother's house in the 2200 block of Georgia Street when a light-colored sedan stopped nearby and a man jumped out and fired a half-dozen shots, mortally wounding the teenager.
The assailant fled the area before police arrived.
A $50,000 reward is available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.
Anyone with information about the Simmons murder or any other unsolved homicide in Riverside was urged to contact investigators at (951) 353-7100. --City News Service