Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

USC Stabbing Not Murder, Says DA Gascon

Victim was allegedly trying to break into a car

June 20, 2024 - The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has decided not to charge a 19-year-old USC student in the stabbing death of a man who was allegedly breaking into a car near the college fraternity houses. Ivan Gallegos, 19, fatally stabbed Xavier Cerf, 27, on Monday night around 8 pm in the 700 block of West 28th Street.

Ivan Gallegos is second from the left, where he is here performing with Mariachi Los Troyanos de USC

Gallegos remained on the scene after the stabbing, cooperated with authorities, and was booked and held on $2 million bail. Cerf was found by police in a nearby alley but had already died by the time paramedics arrived.

"After careful consideration and a thorough review of all available evidence, we have decided not to pursue charges..." Gascon said in a statement today. "We believe that Mr. Gallegos's actions were driven by a genuine fear for his life and the lives of others."

For the district attorney to decide against any sort of charges against Gallegos means his office determined the use of deadly force in the situation was reasonable.

Cerf, who had a criminal record, had allegedly been struggling mentally in recent years, according to his mother in Houston, Yerma Jones. "Everybody goes through life issues," she said. Cerf had a 3-year-old son.

Gallegos' family also had a history of crime. According to USC Annenberg Media in an article about Gallegos, "Ivan navigated the realities of both his parents' involvement in gang activities, leading to their intermittent incarceration" during his childhood, where he grew up in "an environment saturated with drugs, gangs and prostitution."

In an ironic twist of fate, Gallegos is a musician producing electronic dance music while Cerf performed dance videos on TikTok, where he had nearly 2,000 followers.


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