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Dalelaja Francis Denise Hearn, 17

Dalelaja Francis Denise Hearn (2019-12-15)

Dalelaja Francis Denise Hearn, a 17-year-old black girl, died on Saturday, Dec. 15, after she was fatally shot in the 20300 block of Alvo Avenue in Carson, according to Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner records. 

Hearn, a high school student, and her friend, 19-year-old Erin Kayla Lavender, a softball player at Compton College, had gone to a vigil in a residence that evening to honor a male friend who died a week earlier from what appeared to be a drug overdose, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Brandon Dean told The Times. 

Shortly before 9 p.m., the young women got into their car, which was parked in front of the residence. As they were preparing to leave, someone began shooting into the car, Dean said. 

A dark-colored SUV was seen leaving the area, but investigators don't know if it was related to the shooting or if the shooters were on foot, Dean said. 

The girls drove themselves to a hospital, Dean said. Lavender was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:08 p.m., according to coroner's records. Dalelaja was pronounced dead nearly two hours later, at 11:07 p.m., according to coroner's records. 

The cause of death for both was listed as gunshot wounds to the chest. 

Investigators don't have a motive for the shooting, Dean said. 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a reward on Tuesday, offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the shooting. The Carson City Council is expected to consider a similar reward at its meeting on Tuesday, according to the city clerk's office. 

Dalelaja was a resident of Fresno who was visiting Lavender in Los Angeles to attend the vigil, according to an article in yourcentralvalley.com.  She was a cheerleader and senior at Hoover High School scheduled to graduate in June, her aunt Litisha Macon told the news site. 

"She was just a fun-loving spirit," Macon was quoted as saying. "She loved to dance, have fun, play video games with her cousins.... She was just a regular teenager."

According to an online fundraiser to raise money for her family, Dalelaja "loved to cheer, sing, dance and do hair," and "had dreams of going to college to earn her cosmetology degree in the hopes of opening her own salon."  

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.  Those wishing to remain anonymous should  call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter. 

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