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Rontion TJ Love, 25

Rontion TJ Love, a 25-year-old black man, was fatally shot Thursday, June 8, in the 1700 block of Firestone Boulevard in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood of South Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Love and a friend had walked to the Lucky One Liquor store near his home around 5 p.m., Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Cotter said. 

While his friend shopped, Love went outside and stood on the sidewalk to the east of the door, Cotter said. Moments later, surveillance footage shows Love coming back inside the store with gunshot wounds to his upper torso.

His friend tried to stop the bleeding until help arrived, Cotter said. Love was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m., according to coroner’s records.

Investigators have few details about the incident and no description of the shooter, the sergeant said.

“He was standing on the sidewalk by a very busy street at 5 in the afternoon, and there were probably 30 to 40 people traversing the area at that time of day,” Cotter said. “A lot of businesses were open, and there was a lot of traffic on the street, but people in this neighborhood are notoriously closed-mouthed, and it’s pretty rare to get anybody to talk to you at all.”

Love’s older sister, Kenniya Patton, asked for help finding the person who shot her brother. 

Patton said her brother and his friend argued in the store with a man who then waited to shoot Love when he walked outside. But no one has produced a name or description of the man.

“Obviously people saw it,” she said. “I don’t understand the logic here. Fear or no fear, a life was taken, and I can’t fathom why someone wouldn’t come forward. They can even do it anonymously. … I know it must be weighing heavy on their heart. … It’s just craziness.”

Patton said she and her brother grew up in the Florence-Firestone area with two other siblings, just around the corner from where Love was shot. He graduated from Destiny Academy in Los Angeles in 2012 and began working as a custodian for Jordan High School in Los Angeles around 2015.

“He was born in the same place he passed away, St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood,” Patton said. “My mom birthed four kids, but she was on drugs, so she didn’t raise us. Our aunt Yvonne Hunter raised us, and he was the third-born son.”

Love was a homebody, she said, whose greatest pleasure was hanging out with family and friends. 

“He wasn’t a flashy guy,” she said. “He didn’t care about material things. He wanted to take care of his family. He was always looking out for his younger family members, his nieces and younger cousins.”

Love liked to cook and tell jokes, Patton said, but his biggest passion was watching the Dallas Cowboys play football. “On Sundays, he was glued to the television, looking for the game. He was a big fan.”

Family members are doing their best to cope, she said, “but the tears come and go, they just come in like waves. We’re hoping there will be more awareness, more publicity about this murder so we can capture his killer. Somebody knows what happened. We want to let the community know, we need their help.”

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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