A story for every victim

Kevin Cleveland, 17

Kevin Cleveland, a 17-year-old black teenager, was shot to death Tuesday, April 4, near East 60th Street and South Vermont Avenue in Vermont-Slauson, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Kevin was walking with a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl about 3:45 p.m. when another teenager approached, asked about the group’s gang affiliation and shot Kevin and his companions, said Los Angeles Police Det. Chris Barling.

Witnesses reported hearing about 10 gunshots at the strip mall where the shooting occurred, said Officer Mike Lopez, an LAPD spokesman. The three teenagers were taken to a hospital. 

Kevin Cleveland was pronounced dead at 4:49 p.m., according to coroner’s records.

The other two teenagers are expected to survive, Barling said. The shooting was near John Muir Middle School and Augustus Hawkins High School, and aerial images broadcast by local television stations showed a school bus near the scene.

“School had just gotten out, so there was a lot of people out here and a lot of potential victims,” LAPD Deputy Chief Phillip Tingirides told KTLA-TV. “We have three that were hit, and I’m just grateful there weren’t more that were hit.”

Barling said the three teenagers attended Augustus Hawkins High School.

The gunman was described as a black male between the ages of 16 to 22, wearing jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, police said. He remains at large.

Kevin’s mother, who only identified herself by her first name, Ladrena, told KTLA-TV that she heard the gunfire and got into her car to try to find her son.

Ladrena said her son was wounded in the stomach and leg but was still able to talk, and she thought he would be OK. He got up and got on the gurney, she said.

Kevin, who had recently celebrated his 17th birthday, was not involved in gangs and loved to play video games on Xbox at home, his mother said.

"He was trying to get home, and he just was caught up," she said. "He didn't know nobody was going to come shooting. None of the kids knew. They wouldn't have been out there if they knew somebody was going to come shooting."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Gang Homicide Division at (323) 786-5113. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

Photo: Los Angeles police detectives investigate the scene where three teens were shot, one fatally, in front of a strip mall at 60th Street and Vermont Avenue. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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