A story for every victim

Kourtney Walter Raymond Yochum Jr., 32

Kourtney Yochum, a 32-year-old transgender woman, was shot and killed Wednesday, March 23, in the 500 block of South San Pedro Street in downtown, according to authorities and Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the alleged gunman, possibly embroiled in a domestic dispute with Yochum, approached and opened fire, said Los Angeles police Officer Tony Im. Yochum was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anita U. Nelson, chief executive of SRO Housing Corp. said Yochum lived at the Gateway Apartments, a 107-unit permanent supportive housing project for formerly chronically homeless individuals.

Nelson said Yochum was walking her two dogs when a gunman approached and shot her in the head.

“It’s mind-boggling; it happened out in the open,” Nelson said. “I’m heartbroken. Our residents are traumatized, our staff is traumatized. Everybody loved her. She was very popular.”

Alex Valiente, an armed security guard, took the suspected gunman into custody until police arrived. He chased him to the corner of San Julian and 6th streets and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint, Valiente told The Times.

“I heard people saying ‘Shoot him.’ They wanted him dead for what he did,” Valiente said. A gun was recovered at the scene.

Police identified the gunman as Daniel Molayem, a 39-year-old Asian. Molayem, a homeless man, and Yochum had been in a dating relationship for an unknown amount of time, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

On Friday, prosecutors charged Molayem with one count of murder as well as one count of assault with a firearm, according to the complaint. Molayem is scheduled to be arraigned April 8.

At a vigil Thursday, Mariana Vasquez said the role of domestic violence was clear.

“Her boyfriend would follow her around, even come in the building sometime," said Vasquez, who lived in the apartment complex. "I didn't know her real well because she was a 'hi and bye' kind of girl. But people had seen him before and you could just tell it wasn't healthy. I wish someone would have said something."

Amoretta Buchanan, Yochum’s neighbor, tapped the ashes from her cigarette while leaning against her apartment building.

"She was just so cute. She would always strike a pose when she said hello," Buchanan said.

She then pouted her lips and shifted her hips to the side in imitation.

"She really went out of her way to keep to herself. Not everybody understood her, and she knew that could be trouble. But those who got to know her, she was such a good person."

Note: The coroner's office identified Yochum's first name as Allen. Yochum went by Kourtney, so the Homicide Report has updated her identification.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

Share a memory or thought about Kourtney Walter Raymond Yochum Jr.

Before you post, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Remember, all posts are approved by a Times staffer. Profanity and personal attacks will not be approved.

  Required
  Required
Email addresses are not republished or used for marketing purposes.

One reader comment