A story for every victim

Mother pleads for public to help solve killing of 7-year-old

Sawan Mock could barely speak through her sobs Tuesday morning as she pleaded for someone to come forward with information about the fatal shooting of her 7-year-old son.

"When did it become OK to start shooting kids?" she asked.

Police said they have no eyewitnesses and few clues in the Dec. 2 shooting and announced a $50,000 reward leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the people responsible.

Taalib Pecantte was shot in the back while sitting in a car with his mother and her male friend in the 1900 block of South Corning Street in Mid-City. Taalib died of his injuries a day later.

“I know somebody had to see something,” Mock said.

Mock, 28, had just returned from a laundry facility about 9 p.m. with the friend, when three to four men fired more than 20 shots at their car, LAPD Lt. John Radtke said.

“This is a completely senseless act,” Radtke said.

He said police were looking for three to four men, suspected of being involved in a gang, who fled in a white compact car after the shooting. At least two of the men fired into the car, Radtke said.

LAPD Det. Rolando Rodriguez has asked for anyone with tips or information, including rumors about the attack, to contact police.

"That rumor could give me something," he said.

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson said at the press conference that Taalib was a second-grader who got A’s and B's and excelled in math. He wanted a cellphone for Christmas so his mother wouldn’t worry, and he played football with the Compton Vikings.

“It ain’t OK to kill a 7-year-old boy,” Wesson said.

Wesson said he would ask the City Council to increase the amount of the reward to $75,000.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters that investigators “need somebody to come forward” with information about the case.

Though the chief noted that gang violence was down across Los Angeles, “one death is one too many. And a 7-year-old absolutely cries out for public support.”

He said that the public's support was key to solving gang-related crimes.

“We’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go,” Beck said. “And the way that you make progress on that is to have the community rally around the victim, and that’s what needs to happen here.”

The reward announcement came within days of Taalib’s funeral and burial at an Islamic cemetery in Lancaster. Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD’s West Bureau homicide division at (213) 382-9470.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz and Kate Mather 

Photo: Sawan Mock, 28, pleads for witnesses to come forward in the shooting of her son, Taalib Pecantte, who was 7. Credit: Nicole Santa Cruz / Los Angeles Times

This post has been changed to reflect that Wesson was at the press conference

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