Times coverage: Talk of Russian roulette, then a fatal gunshot
Times staff writer Robert Faturechi reported Monday from the Lafayette Square neighborhood, where Alexis Wallace, 15, was fatally shot in the back while visiting a friend's home. An excerpt from Faturechi's report from the scene follows:
Norma Gamble was cooking dinner in her Mid-City home Sunday evening when she heard a gunshot from upstairs.
She ran to the second floor, where a teenage boy who had been living with the family and two teenage girls were hanging out. She found one of the girls on the floor, bleeding profusely from a bullet wound to her lower back.
"My stomach hurts," said the 15-year-old. "Help me."
Paramedics took the girl from the home in the 1800 block of Wellington Road to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
Los Angeles Police Department detectives Monday were still trying to piece together what happened. But detectives said the 16-year-old boy had been discussing Russian roulette and was loading and unloading a revolver as the girls watched.
Detectives said one of the girls became uneasy as the boy kept playing with the gun. The girl, identified by the L.A. County coroner's office as Alexis Wallace, stood to leave the room. As she was walking out, the boy pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger, not realizing that there was a bullet in the chamber, police said.
When Gamble came across the bloody scene, she said, the boy was distraught, running around the room in a "chaotic state."
"The gun just went off," he said in disbelief, throwing the weapon onto his bed.
"What do you mean? We don't own any guns," Gamble replied.
The boy had recently arrived at the two-story home on a tree-lined street in the historic Lafayette Square section of Mid-City. Gamble said her brother, who lives with her in the home, was a close family friend of the boy and his mother, who lives in Compton. He decided to take the boy in, hoping the move would keep him out of trouble.
Photo: Norma Gamble, center, receives a hug from a relative in front of her Los Angeles home, where a juvenile was taken into custody after a girl was shot in an upstairs bedroom. Credit: Christina House / For The Times