Eric Adorno was mistaken for a gang member because he wore a red football jersey.
Lacy Ferguson was shot to death after she and her boyfriend bought a pack of cigarettes.
Josue Huerta was winning his battle with cancer but lost his life to gang violence.
Ernestina “Tina” Tizoc was sitting at a picnic table when her maroon blouse caught the eye of neighborhood boys who favor blue.
And Manuel Rayas was shot, sniper-style, as he stood on the lawn at a birthday party while children jumped in an inflatable bounce house nearby.
All were killed in the never- ending turf wars waged by Norteños and Sureños in the Modesto area, but none belonged to a gang or provoked their attackers.
Innocent victims such as Adorno, Ferguson, Huerta, Tizoc and Rayas are in the minority, because most gang violence involves turf battles and personal vendettas in which one gang attacks another, prompting a cycle of retaliation.
But their deaths are proof that one need not engage in a risky lifestyle to be a victim of a gang crime. And when cases such as theirs end with guilty verdicts in Stanislaus County Superior Court, it is clear that the young men who pulled the trigger cut their own lives short, too.