Dispatch: 'I put some water on my socks and tried to wipe up the blood.'
After her son was shot and killed Sunday, Sept. 20, Kathryn Harris was so consumed with grief she did not eat for days.
“My arms and fingers are starting to take on a skeletal appearance,” she said. “I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. And I cry.”
Kevin Harris, a 21-year old black man, had been sitting in his parked car in front of a music studio on the 3300 block of West 118th Place in Inglewood when he was fatally wounded, authorities said.
His mother wept as she described the phone call that came that night from her son’s father. She spoke of her frantic trip to the studio where the aspiring music composer and producer had been shot several times shortly after 8 p.m.
“I put some water on my socks and tried to wipe up the blood. I wiped up as much blood as I could,” she said. “I got down on my hands and knees and used my hands like they were a broom to sweep up the glass.”
Inglewood Police Department officials have described the shooter as a possible gang member. Harris, however, was not involved in gangs and had no criminal history, said Inglewood police Det. Jose Becerra.
The night her son was killed, Kathryn Harris said, she knew something was wrong. She texted him and called him repeatedly and there was no response. Then, she said, she got the call from his father.
Harris was pronounced dead at the hospital about 40 minutes after the shooting. No witnesses have come forward and police have not named any suspects in his killing, authorities said.
“I was kind of on the verge of suicide,” his mother said. “But there’s no way I would do that because then I would never see God. I would never see my son.”
Kevin Harris, known to friends as Track Bully, learned to play the piano in a music class his freshman year at St. Bernard Catholic High School, said Jimmique Parsons, his best friend.
Parsons said the class taught Harris the basics of how to play, but his friend was soon learning to play popular songs by ear after hearing them on the radio. During his sophomore year in high school, Harris downloaded a music program that allowed him to compose, mix and loop basic beats, and from there he was hooked, Parsons said.
At first he would sample and mix songs from popular hip-hop artists such as Kanye West and Dr. Dre, but Parsons said he quickly moved to composing his own music, then mixing it and looping it digitally with other instruments.
“He would go into the studio, play around on the piano for an hour or so, then start recording…. Then he would find chords to bring in, then drums,” Parsons said. “It was amazing; he would start from scratch.”
Kathryn Harris said her son also played on his high school basketball team and regularly went to church. His favorite color was white, she said, adding that he was buried in a white suit.
After high school graduation Harris worked a number of odd jobs during the day and spent his nights in the studio, Parsons said. He worked at Urban Outfitters, Vons and eventually at a mattress store while at night the studio paid him to mix tracks for local artists.
He worked on a video with Lady G, a rapper from Atlanta, Parsons said. But Parsons said he mostly worked with local artists and on his own music.
[Updated Oct. 5: A previous version of this post incorrectly identified Lady G as a Jamaican DJ.]
Kathryn Harris said she had devoted her life to making sure her son did not fall into the wrong crowd. She sent him to Catholic middle and high schools, read him the Bible.
Over the course of a two-hour phone interview, she sobbed for three-quarters of the conversation. She was still at the cemetery, having just picked out the place in a mausoleum to bury her son.
She recalled a time when he was 2 years old and she took him to a coin-operated laundry. She said she gave him a 100-piece puzzle to keep him entertained and after a short period of time he told her: "Done, mommy, done."
She said she took him jet-skiing when he was 7, and later would accompany his school basketball team on trips to games. She said one of his favorite nicknames for her was "Mother of pearl."
"He used to text me 'goodnight mother of pearl,'" she said.
“He has no gang ties whatsoever, I raised him preppy,” she said. “He wanted people to be happy in general…. He saw good in everyone.”
She said she was always nervous about the area his studio was in and would stay up at night – sometimes into the early morning – until she heard him come home safe.
“They tell me God only give you as much as you can handle,” she said. “Well God must think I’m really strong.”
— Anthony Pesce
Photo: Kevin Harris, 21, was shot and killed in Inglewood on Sept. 20. Credit: Paul Parsons