- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13 (UPI) — A 29-year-old gang leader who may be connected to a dozen murders in the Los Angeles area waived extradition proceedings Thursday and was waiting to be transferred from Arizona back to Southern California.

Timothy McGhee, who was arrested late Wednesday in Bullhead City on the Arizona-Nevada state line, is the reputed leader of a violent San Fernando Valley gang and has a reputation among Los Angeles police as a trigger-happy and ruthless gunman who has allegedly killed rival gang members, witnesses to crimes and people he simply did not like.

"Investigators believe that McGhee, while evading capture, continued to influence the activities of his gang while on the run," the LAPD said in a statement. "He continued his involvement in the gang's criminal enterprises, which included drug trafficking, firearms violations…murder and threats of violence to dissuade rival gang members, potential witnesses and unsuspecting community members."

McGhee agreed not to fight his extradition to Los Angeles during a brief hearing in Kingman in which he appeared on video from the Mohave County Jail.

Acting on a tip from an Arizona resident, police and federal authorities took the suspect into custody without incident and charged him under a federal flight warrant issued after McGhee allegedly murdered 16-year-old Ryan Gonzalez in June 2000.

"McGhee allegedly killed Gonzalez simply because Gonzalez happened to share the same nickname that McGhee uses," the LAPD said. "McGhee is also a suspect in a string of brutal murders that have been committed since then, including the murder of a 17 year-old boy who was sketching a picture at the Los Angeles River near the gang's stronghold in Atwater Village."

Additionally, police said, McGhee killed a young mother of two — apparently because the type of vehicle she was driving annoyed him.

News accounts have described McGhee as bloodthirsty yet intelligent and a stern taskmaster in his role as leader of the Toonerville Gang that terrorized the largely middle-class Valley area.

Police told the Los Angeles Times that McGhee in fact had been taking police science classes at a Los Angeles-area college while on parole, possibly trying to gain insight into law enforcement tactics and investigative techniques.

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