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Gang member pleads guilty to killing innocent bystander in 2014

By all accounts, Terrell Taylor was an innocent victim of gang violence.

Mistaken for someone else, he was shot and killed near his home on Brinkman Avenue in late 2014.

Matthew Johnson, the man who pulled the trigger, pleaded guilty Tuesday before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. and will face a recommended sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Prosecutors believe Johnson was a member of the LRGP gang looking for a rival gang member that Sunday night in December.

"We believe the victim was mistaken for someone else and was really just a good kid walking down the street, minding his own business," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel A. Violanti.

At the time, no one knew for sure who had shot Taylor but, over time, the FBI came to believe the murder was connected to a rivalry involving LRGP, a gang with ties to the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

One of 12 gang members and associates indicted in 2015, Johnson was initially accused of operating a drug house at 41 Houghton Ave. and selling crack cocaine.

LRGP, a gang known for its use of violence, operated in an area bounded by Rother Avenue and Lombard, Gibson and Playter streets.

In his plea deal, Johnson admitted selling crack cocaine in the neighborhood.

Taylor is not the first murder victim tied to LRGP. Gang members also admitted killing Amir Chambers in 2011 and Andre Anderson two years earlier.

Prosecutors say Chambers, 26, was killed on Mills Street in retaliation for the murder of the brother of an LRGP gang leader.

They claim the murder of Andre Anderson, 31, at Peckham and Lombard streets, is also connected to the gang.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 19.

His conviction is the result of an investigation by the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force.

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