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Kody Ryan Cook, 18

Kody Ryan Cook, an 18-year-old black man, was shot and killed Friday, June 26, at 13400 block of Crenshaw Boulevard in Gardena, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Gardena Police officers responded after receiving reports at 1:24 p.m. about shots being fired in the parking lot of the Good Neighbor 99 Center Store and the Baskin-Robbins ice cream store, said Lt. Russ Temple. 

When they arrived, officers found Cook sitting in the driver’s seat of his gray BMW sedan with multiple gunshot wounds to the face and throat. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:35 p.m., according to coroner’s records. 

About 30 minutes before, Temple said, Cook and a male friend had been driving in his neighborhood, a few blocks from his home, when he stopped and exchanged “angry words” with another group of young people standing near the street. 

Cook stayed in his car for this brief, verbal exchange, Temple said, and then drove away. About 20 minutes later, as he was parking his car in the parking lot, Cook and his friend were confronted by two young men who had been involved in the earlier exchange. 

One of them pulled a small caliber, semiautomatic handgun and fired multiple rounds into the car, striking Cook, Temple said. The two then ran to a nearby vehicle and drove away.

Cook’s friend was not injured, Temple said. 

On July 6, investigators arrested two 17-year-old Gardena boys in connection with the killing. One has been charged with murder in juvenile court and the other has been charged with being an accessory after the fact, said Greg Risling, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. 

The names of the suspects have not been released because they are juveniles, Risling said. Both have pleaded not guilty. Their next court date is Aug. 11 in Los Angeles County Juvenile Court in Inglewood. 

Cook was a student at El Camino College, Temple said. The student newspaper, The Union, reported that Cook was studying psychology and was also involved in a music group called Political Zoo, using the stage name Lecturre.

The case is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Michael Sargent at (310) 217-9639. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Jeanette Marantos 

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