A story for every victim

After son's death, a mother issues warnings to those who look like him

If Jessie Guidry-Acquah sees a man on the street who reminds her of her son, she issues a warning.

She tells the man about her own son, gunned down in Compton at the age of 23.   

On that May morning, David Davon Matthewis woke up, ate some chicken and cereal for breakfast, played a quick video game, then showed off his bike – a black beach cruiser – to his mother. 

“I said ‘That’s nice, baby. That’s a beautiful bike,’ ” she recalled. 

Matthewis left his video game on because he said he’d be right back.  

Just after 11 a.m., Matthewis was walking home in the 1000 block of East Elm Street in Compton when a vehicle pulled up and someone inside shot at him, said Sgt. Robert Gray with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau. 

Gray said he thinks the people involved are gang members and may have mistaken Matthewis for a member of a rival gang. He said he has two suspects in mind but needs more evidence before the Los Angeles County district attorney's office will file charges.  

Hours after the shooting, Guidry-Acquah found herself at St. Francis Medical Center, in front of a physician who bowed his head low before delivering the news: The bullet had hit her son’s spine and a main artery before exiting through his lower abdomen. The doctor said there was nothing more they could do.  

“I hope his life wasn’t taken because of mistaken identity, someone thinking he was from a set of gangs and he wasn’t,” she said. 

In recent years, her son had shown an increasing interest in making music, said Guidry-Acquah.  He bought a guitar and a microphone and would spend hours in a storage room writing songs.  After he died, his relatives discovered more than 100 songs Matthewis had recorded. 

“I didn’t even know the boy had did that much,” Guidry-Acquah said.  

Recently, Guidry-Acquah saw a man who looked like her son at a Blue Line station. 

She approached him and his friends, who were playing a dice game. 

The boys were quiet at they listened to her story.

She told them to dress differently, to be careful of their colors. She said there are evil people in the world, shooting others for no reason. 

Anyone with information about the killing can call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz 

Photo: David Davon Matthewis. Credit: Jessie Guidry-Acquah

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