A story for every victim

Erin Kayla Lavender, 19

Erin Kayla Lavender, a 19-year-old black woman, 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. 

Lavender, a sophomore softball player at Compton College, and her friend, 17-year-old Dalelaja Francis Denise Hearn, a senior at Hoover High School in Fresno, 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 the 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. 

Lavender was a resident of Carson, according to coroner's records. She grew up in Paramount, and attended Paramount High School, according to the Compton Tartars athletic website for Compton College. 

She was a outfielder and third-base player for the Compton College women's softball team, about to start her second year on the team as player No. 11, said women's head softball coach Joe Magno. 

"She was sweet, she was funny, she was all of 90 pounds," Magno said. "She wore big glasses, and always had a big smile on her face. She was extremely close to all of her teammates, and her teammates are struggling now. This is a total tragedy, and we're going to dedicate the season to her, wear armband No. 11 on it, and try to keep the school going in the right direction."

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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