Rodrigo Ponce, 17
Died Oct. 26, 2007 at 11:37 a.m.
A 16-year-old Latino was shot and killed, and three other teenagers were wounded, one critically, in a shooting near 43rd and Wall streets in South-Central Los Angeles, LAPD Newton area, at about 10:40 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, according to police. Rodrigo Ponce, 16 died at 11:37 a.m.
Ponce and his three friends were hanging out when two Latino men or youths approached and asked, "Where are you from?" The victims said they belonged to no gang, but the suspects shot everyone in their group. Ponce died at the scene; a 15-year-old girl was struck several times and taken to a hospital in critical condition. Another 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy were hit, but suffered less serious injuries. The suspects fled.
Ponce did not go to school, and spent time with documented gang members, but he was well-liked by neighbors despite this. Clerks at the store said he went to a local bakery and bought neighbors coffee every morning. Dollar bills lined the bottom of the jar.
(Below, Ponce's jacket on an office chair with pictures of Jesus Christ, and a donation jar on the counter of the small Latino grocery store on the corner where he died.)
Update: Newton detectives have presented a case against a suspect in this case, and prosecutors have filed charges. He remains outstanding.
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Updated: Feb. 1, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.