A story for every victim

Times coverage: Text message spurs 19-year-old's untimely death

On the evening of Nov. 18, 2009, Gombert Yepremyan, known as Mike to his friends and family, was shot to death in the parking lot of a Sears in North Hollywood.

Hours after the shooting, friends and family were shocked to hear of  the violent death of Yepremyan, a 19-year-old white man. Their shock grew when they learned the sequence of events leading to his death began with a single text message sent to his girlfriend.

In a story in Thursday's Los Angeles Times, reporter Robert Fateruchi spoke with those close to Yepremyan and traces the three hours from when he sent the text to when he was killed the fateful November night.

An excerpt from Fateruchi's Column One follows:

It was the kind of text message many teenagers might send.

Mike Yepremyan wanted to see his girlfriend, but she was hanging out with another girl. So he sent her a pouty text with a nasty comment about her companion.

He hit send just after 5 p.m. on a Wednesday in November, triggering a series of events he could never have anticipated.

By 9 p.m., two families had been devastated and a circle of friends had been torn apart. When Mike wasn't in class at Pierce College or working as a dispatcher for a private ambulance company, he could usually be found with his closest buddies. At Los Angeles Baptist, the private high school in the San Fernando Valley where they met, they were known as the Middle Eastern kids.

Mike and Ohan Barsamian were Armenian. Ali Hosseini was Persian. They were a little louder than their classmates, a little more outgoing. For Valentine's Day one year, Mike borrowed money from his father to buy a long-stemmed rose for each of the 150 young ladies in their high school.

When their parents set the table for one of the boys, they could expect to find all three waiting to be fed. Sleepovers were the norm. So when Mike showed up unannounced at Ohan's house after work Nov. 18, no one was surprised.

All that was out of the ordinary was Mike's mood.

Read Robert Faturechi's full story: It was the text message of their lives

Post a comment

Before you post, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Remember, all posts are approved by a Times staffer. Profanity and personal attacks will not be approved.


Six reader comments