Local

LA mourns another gang violence victim

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Jamiel Shaw

Jamiel Shaw (KABC Photo)

Family, friends and teammates of Jamiel Shaw Jr., all of them in their football jerseys, gathered at West Angeles Cathedral in Los Angeles.

During the service, Jamiel Shaw Senior who had an 18 year plan for success for his son until it was cut short when he became the innocent victim of gang violence, pledged to stop the blood shed Tuesday.

He wants anyone else concerned to join him.

"I just want to let everyone know that we tried to do the right thing for Jamiel," said Jamiel Shaw Senior.

The 17-year-old athlete was shot to death Mar. 2 on the sidewalk just a few doors from his Arlington Heights home.

Nineteen-year-old Pedro Espinoza was arrested Friday and appeared in court Tuesday for arraignment, but it was postponed until March 25 at his request while a public defender is assigned to him. Espinoza is a "documented member" of the 18th Street gang.

The charge includes the special circumstance allegation that the defendant was "an active participant in a criminal street gang and the murder was carried out to further the activities of the criminal street gang."

Prosecutors are expected to decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Espinoza, who was arrested last Friday by Los Angeles police.

The high school running back led his high school football team to a Southern League title and he was attracting scholarship attention from Stanford, Rutgers and other schools.

Los Angeles High School football coach Hardy Williams said at the funeral service Tuesday that he never had a better player.

"He was our best player. He was our spirit and he was the soul of our football team. That is without the slightest bit of exaggeration," said Williams.

Grammy Award singer James Ingram touched everyone with his voice at the ceremony.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reminded everyone attending the service to honor Jamiel by helping stop the rising tide of gang violence.

"I think he would tell us that we have to offer more than words of remembrance. I think he would tell us to remember with our actions. He would tell us that the madness of gang and gun violence metastasizing in our streets absolutely has to stop," said Villaraigosa.

The Los Angeles Police Department held a news conference at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Police Chief William Bratton said Espinoza had been released from jail in an assault case the day before Shaw's killing. The chief also said detectives were seeking a second suspect.

The victim and attacker belonged to different races, but Espinoza was not charged with a hate crime and Shaw's father has said he did not believe the attack was racially motivated.

"This incident here, we believe, was motivated solely by gang issues, not having anything to do with race," Bratton said.

Mourners remembered Jamiel Monday night at a public viewing.

"I just want to know why. He used to come over to my house for the 4th of July and we'd go to the Queen Mary and watch the fireworks," said Jamiel's uncle Dex Davis. "I don't think I can do this."

"He was such a beautiful boy. I mean, you couldn't ask for a perfect son. He was just like my own," said family friend Denise McMorris. "He was very, very nice. He was awesome."

"Now I see him at peace and I know he's in a better place, not having to deal with what we have to deal with every single day, so I know he's happy," said Jamiel's best friend Marcus.

Eyewitness News reporters Leo Stallworth and Lisa Hernandez contributed to this report.

 

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