Reward offered for information on shooting of 5-year-old boy in South L.A.

From Councilwoman Jan Perry’s office:

Aaron Shannon, 5, was shot on Halloween. Shannon died in hospital Monday night. (Photo courtesy of LAist.)

Update: On November 3, 2010 The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, acting on Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ recommendation, added $25,000 in reward money to the city’s offer, bringing the total to $100,000.

Councilwoman Jan Perry received unanimous support from her council colleagues today for the issuance of a $75,000 reward for information leading to the identification and apprehension of the person or persons responsible for the death of a five-year old. The motion allows the City Council to provide a reward of up to $75,000 for information leading to the identification, apprehension, and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this violent crime.

“This is an assault on our entire community. I hope that this reward motion will help the 77th Area detectives find the person or persons who shot and killed an innocent child on Halloween,” said Perry. “If you have any information, please come forward for the sake of this family and our community at large.”

On Sunday, October 31, 2010, at 2 p.m., five year old Aaron Shannon, his uncle Terrance Shannon (27 yrs. old), and his grandfather William Shannon (56 yrs. old) were standing in the backyard of 1007 East 84th Street when unknown suspects walking eastbound through the alley and fired numerous shots. All three were struck by gunfire and transported to the hospital. Terrance and William were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released from the hospital; Aaron was hospitalized in grave condition and died on November 1, 2010.

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call 77th Division Criminal Gang/Homicide Detectives at (213) 485-1383. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

“Down for Life” explores one girl’s reality of life in a gang

Listen to the audio story:


Read the audio script:

LeTania Kirkland: I understand you were chosen for this role under unusual circumstances. What were they?

Jessica Romero: I was at school. I was going to Manual Arts High School in South Central. They were having a casting call at my school. Some lady asked me if I wanted to be in a movie, and I told her, ‘No, I’m cool, no thanks.’ Another lady came up and asked me about five minutes later. She was just like, ‘It’s a really good opportunity for you, so why don’t you just go?’ So then, I was like, ‘Alright then, I’ll go.’ So then I went, and they were asking all of these girls. There were a lot of girls in the auditorium, and they were lined up on stage, and they were going into this little room for about three minutes and coming out. It was my turn to go into the room, and I went in for about 20 minutes, and in those 20 minutes, they were just asking me different questions like, am I in a gang, have I ever been in a fight, have I ever started a fight. I just answered pretty honest, you know. And here I am, three years later.

Kirkland: And the reason why they were looking at high schools, they thought it would be better to choose kids from South Central because they do relate to the story. How did you relate to this character Rascal’s story?

Romero: At the time, I was more involved in gangs and stuff. I didn’t really have my priorities straight or anything. The character Rascal, she kind of discovered herself, too, in the story. At the time, that’s what I was going through. Now I’m 18, and thanks to this movie, I’ve kind of found my way, and I know exactly what to do with myself now.

Kirkland: And you said you know exactly what you want to do with your life now. What is that?

Romero: My dream is to be a marine biologist. That’s what I want to do with my life. Before, I didn’t really look forward to anything besides the day I was in. Now, I have goals and stuff that I want to do five, 10 years from now. I think Rascal goes through that. In our story, everything takes place in one day, but what I discovered in three years, she discovers in that one day.

Kirkland: This story was based on the actual writings of a girl at Locke High School. Do you feel like you did her story justice?

Romero: I met her a couple of times. She told us herself, ‘Wow, you guys did it right.’

Kirkland: Has being a part of this film changed your mind about the power of art and the effect it can have?

Romero: Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of things out there, and a lot of different books and movies and poems. But it’s different when something comes straight from the heart, when something is real. That’s how our movie is. There’s no fancy stuff, no extra stuff. It’s just plain and real, and I think that’s what touches people.

Report claims gang-related crime has dropped

The mayor’s office received some good news today: it looks like anti-gang strategies like the Summer Night Lights program are working. City Controller Wendy Greuel shared the results of a report that indicated a reduction in gang-related crime in the areas designated to be hubs of gang activity.

The lengthily-titled report, Semi-Annual Follow-up of the Controller’s Blueprint for a Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy, states that gang-related crime has dropped 10.7 percent in the two years since the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program started.

“Controller Greuel’s findings show significant progress on one of our most important initiatives,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as quoted in a press release. “Now is the time to take that next step in evaluating exactly what programs and what services are causing the drop in gang violence.”

According to the mayor’s office, the Urban Institute has been monitoring the city’s anti-gang efforts for over a year, and will release their findings in a series of reports beginning next month. Greuel, however, has expressed criticism over the amount of tax-payer money dedicated to the Urban Institute and their yet-to-be-published reports. A total of $525,000 has been spent on the evaluation of the GRYD program.

“Our goal is to keep our children out of gangs and onto the right path to a bright future,” said Villaraigosa. “Our GRYD programs are reducing gang violence, radically changing the culture and bureaucracy at City Hall, preventing more people from joining gangs and providing an exit strategy for those already involved. We’re working together to stop the cycle of gang violence that has plagued our city for too long.”

View the designated zones of the GRYD program: