A story for every victim

Dovon Harris, 15

Dovon Harris, a 15-year-old black male, was pronounced dead Friday, June 15, after being shot the day before in Green Meadows. He was on life support until June 17. 

Dispatch: Dovon Harris, 15, continued. [Originally published June 19, 2007]

Friends and family write notes at Dovon's shrine next to the Nickerson Gardens housing project in Watts.At the hospital, Barbara Pritchett corralled the LAPD detective who would be handling the case of her son Dovon's murder."I didn't want him to be labeled with just a name and a number," Pritchett said.

Dovon, 15, was still on life support after being shot last Thursday in Watts, and would remain on life support several days so that his organs could be donated. "I want you to meet him," Pritchett recalled telling Det. John Skaggs of LAPD's Southeast Division.

The 10th-grader at Centennial High School had been struck by a bullet east of South Central Avenue on 114th Street in Watts late in the afternoon as he headed home from an end-of-school-year gathering with friends. A girl from his group had quarrelled with a girl from another group, and things had escalated. Harris and his friends got on an MTA bus. But some black men or youths followed the bus in a car. When the Harris and his friends got off the bus, one of their pursuers fired, and Harris was struck. "Gunned down like he was nobody," his mother said.

During the days that the parents kept a vigil at UCLA-Harbor Medical Center, a stream of people came to see Dovon--friends, family members, 11 teachers and administrators from Centennial High, Pritchett said. Over and over they asked Pritchett why there had been no news coverage of the murder. "It's unfair to see a kid like this when all they talk about on the news is Paris Hilton," they said. "That's OK," Pritchett said over and over. "We know what Dovon was."

But when Skaggs came along, Pritchett was determined to rescue Dovon from the anonymity of being just another case--another 15-year-old black youth shot in a drive-by. She brought Skaggs to Dovon's bedside. Her son lay brain-dead, on a ventilator, his body swollen by fluids, kept alive only long enough to donate six of his organs to six people. "I want you to see his face," she told Skaggs.

Dovon was taken off life support on June 17, 2007.

Photo: Friends and family write notes at Dovon's shrine next to the Nickerson Gardens housing project in Watts.)

FOR THE RECORD: A previous version of this post listed an incorrect age for Dovon and the incorrect day of death.

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