Three years since a 16-year-old was shot to death: 'Someone needs to start speaking up'
Every Wednesday, Tammy Bingham calls the detective investigating her 16-year-old grandson’s killing.
They have a deal: Once LAPD Det. Fernando Cuevas catches Larry McKay’s killer, he will come over for dinner.
Bingham keeps calling. And she keeps waiting.
Last week, Bingham and Cuevas joined Larry’s mother, LaKisha Thomas, and other relatives in the 1500 block of West 51st Street in Vermont Square to mark three years since Larry’s death.
The group had balloons and stacks of fliers advertising the $50,000 reward in the case.
Cuevas, the investigator, wonders why Larry — a kid who always listened to his mother — left the house that night. Although Larry wasn’t a gang member, he knew where he could and could not go. How did he end up in a rival gang’s neighborhood?
“I really hope that somebody, someone will point me in the right direction,” he said. It’s possible Larry was lured to the area.
That night — on July 16, 2015 — residents in the area heard an argument, then gunshots. Someone called 911, but it was too late.
In the neighborhood last week, people handed fliers to drivers in passing cars and tucked them into screen doors, hoping someone will be prompted to offer information.
“It’s hard when you take it one day at a time and people don’t come forward,” said Tiffany Givens, McKay’s aunt. “Someone needs to start speaking up.”
The group formed a circle and held hands, some stepping forward to talk about Larry, a charming ladies’ man who “had waves for the babes.” Larry loved chili cheese fries and tacos. He would rub his mother’s feet after a long day. He enjoyed fishing with his grandfather and looked forward to the day he’d get to pilot the van. Larry never got to meet his daughter, London, now 2. Relatives say she acts like him.
Larry's mother had a hard time talking about her only son. She said she’s angry. Her mother, Bingham, told her it’s OK to be mad.
“He was 16 years old,” Bingham said. “Everyday, I hurt when I see my kids hurt. So you can be mad if you want to.”
The group prayed for justice, led by Pastor Michael D. Starks. “One day, Kisha, we’re going to sit in that courtroom, and we’re going to see justice prevail,” Starks told the group.
Bingham remembers her grandson each time she makes tea. She sometimes sees his features — his light skin or laid back persona — in other relatives.
In her bedroom, she keeps a poster board with photographs of her grandson. She believes he is watching over her.
And sometimes, she thinks about what she will cook for Cuevas when the killer is found.
Photo, above: Tiffany Givens holds a flier promoting the reward in her nephew's killing.
Photo, right: Lakisha Thomas releases a red balloon in honor of her son on the three-year anniversary of his killing. Credit: Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times