Cesar Rene Arce

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Cesar Rene Arce (born in 1976) was shot to death in Los Angeles in 1995 at age 18. Arce was writing graffiti under the Hollywood Freeway with a friend, David Hillo, 20, when they were confronted by William Masters, a failed U.S. Marine and aspiring actor, allegedly acting as vigilante. Although details of the confrontation are in dispute, it ended with Masters shooting both men. Masters shot Arce in the back and killed the teenager during the dispute, while Hilo was shot in the backside and wounded. Masters was prosecuted for misdemeanor weapons charges,[1] but, based on his claim of self-defense, was never charged in Arce's death.[2]

The death of Arce, who was of Mexican heritage, stirred deep controversy within the Los Angeles community at the time,[3] and he has become somewhat of a martyr among graffiti artist supporters[4] and other social activists. He is celebrated in the graffiti community.[5]


  1. ^ "Charges to Be Filed In Graffiti Shooting", The New York Times, February 26, 1995, URL retrieved August 30, 2006.
  2. ^ Lee, Cynthia (2003). "Crimes of Fear". Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom. New York University Press. pp. 156–159. ISBN 0-8147-5115-6.
  3. ^ Kramer, Pamela (February 13, 1995). "City appears divided yet again over slain tagger, pizza thief". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  4. ^ Chang, Jeff, "The writing on the wall: why are graffiti and vandalism bad words in the left?", ColorLines Magazine, 2002.
  5. ^ "Death of a Graffiti Writer; The Vigilante Killing of Cesar Rene Arce", Revolution: Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, February 19, 1995.

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