A story for every victim

Melvin Williams II, 35

Melvin Williams II, a 35-year-old man, was fatally shot on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at a home in the 2700 block of East 7th Street in Long Beach, according to Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner records. 

Williams, a resident of Gardena, was among about 30 people attending a Halloween-themed birthday party at the home when at least one gunman attacked. At about 10:45 p.m., a  shooter, in dark clothing with his face concealed, began firing into the backyard of the home from a rear alley, striking 12 people.

Three men — Williams; Maurice Dawayne Poe Jr., 25 of Long Beach; and Ricardo Torres, 28, of Inglewood — were pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release from the Long Beach Police Department. 

Nine other guests — seven females and two males ranging in age from 20 to 49 — were injured and taken to a hospital, including the young woman whose birthday was being celebrated, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. The victims were Asian, Latino and black coworkers, family and friends, the Los Angeles Times reported.  

Williams attended the party with his stepsister,  a coworker of the party's host and the woman whose birthday was being celebrated, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. The host, Daniel Chan, works at an Inglewood casino, according to his Facebook page and told the Press-Telegram that the people at the party were coworkers and family.

Chan told the Press-Telegram that Williams was a good friend. "He was very happy, always smiling. He was a good person."

Williams' stepbrother, who was not named, said their 29-year-old sister was shot five times but was expected to make a full recovery. Williams' father died about a year and a half ago, the stepbrother told the news outlet, and the funeral costs were hard on the family. The stepbrother was quoted as saying Williams worked at the same Los Angeles church where he sang.

"He loved going to church, loved singing in the choir and was always an outgoing person," the stepbrother said. When Williams walked into a room, "you knew you were getting ready to laugh."

A week after the shooting, on Nov. 5, the party's host Daniel Chan and his Cambodian family invited Buddhist monks into their home to pray for the dead and injured in a ceremony that was attended by city officials and friends and families of the victims, The Times reported.  

Chan and his family moved out of the house two days later, the Press-Telegram reported. "Every time I'm here, I can't breathe," Chan said. 

Police investigators said it was unclear whether more than one shooter was involved. The perpetrator, or perpetrators, fled in a dark-colored vehicle immediately after the shooting, according to authorities, and there had been no arrests as of Nov. 19. Los Angeles County and the city of Long Beach each contributed toward a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects, The Times reported. 

"This is a tragic incident that is not at all reflective of our community," Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said in the news release. "We are committed to working tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice and provide the victims with the services they need."

The shooting came on the heels of another incident involving multiple victims in Long Beach. 

In an Oct. 23 shooting, Manuel Marquez, 44, an employee of the Bottoms Up Sports Bar, was killed after a gunman opened fire in the bar in the 1700 block of Artesia Boulevard. The suspected gunman, Delfon Garnell Kinney Sr., 48, a longtime Disneyland employee, also died after he was shot at by a bar patron and a Long Beach police officer. Investigators have not released information about a motive in that shooting. 

Anyone with information about the Oct. 29 shooting is asked to call the Long Beach homicide Dets. Mark Mattia or Donald Collier at (562) 570-7244. 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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