News Releases

September 17, 2015: Gang Member Sentenced to Prison for Fatal Drive-By Shooting

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 21-year-old gang member was sentenced yesterday to 75 years in state prison for a fatal drive-by shooting in Compton, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On June 19, a jury found Brian Alonzo Sawyers guilty of six felony counts: three counts of attempted murder, tw0 counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and one count of murder in case TA133204.

Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death. Furthermore, a gang allegation was found to be true.

Deputy District Attorney Angie Christides of the Hardcore Gang Division said Sawyers is a documented Acacia Spooktown Farmdogs gang member. Prior to the shooting, the defendant got into a fight with a rival gang member from Nutty Block.

A week after the altercation, on July 25, 2013, Sawyers committed a drive-by shooting of the rival gang member’s home, the prosecutor said.

While shooting at the house, which had several people inside, a bullet struck the rival gang member’s grandfather. Victim Thomas Dunbar, 84, was in a hospital bed in the front of the home when he was shot in the head. He died at the scene, the prosecutor added.

Soon after the shooting, Sawyers was arrested for burglary. While in his cell, Sawyers talked about the shooting to undercover law enforcement. Sawyers was subsequently charged in connection with the fatal shooting.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.