Posted March 5, 2008 - The most valuable player at Los Angeles High School and in its league last football season has been shot to death – three blocks from his home – in what authorities are calling a “brutal, senseless” crime.
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Jamiel Andre Shaw, 17, was just three blocks from his home Sunday when he was asked by two men in a vehicle, “Where you from?” – a question used by gang bangers to learn each other’s affiliation.
Shaw, who was being courted recently by a string of prestigious universities, including Stanford and Rutgers, was shot in the head and chest, although police say he wasn’t a gang member at all.
Police are calling the attack random and unprovoked. “This is brutal. It’s a brutal, senseless act of violence,” Los Angeles Police Detective Frank Carrillo told reporters. “The victim was not a gang member. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon in L.A. that we have some gang members approaching victims at random just to see if they are or not. But to shoot them anyway, that’s just disgusting. “
His father said he heard gunshots, and when he came outside, his son lay dead just three blocks from the house.
“I would tell him, ‘I’m going to get you to 18, and if you do what you’re supposed to do, you’ll get to college,” Jamiel Shaw Sr., the running back’s father says. “He was almost there.”
The player’s goal was to become a sports agent. Shaw was “a good person” who Los Angeles High’s coach Hardy Williams called “a Houdini on the football field.” An All-City, first-team selection last season, Shaw had rushed for 1,052 yards, averaging more than 14 yards per carry.
Police, who believe the suspects are members of a Latino gang, say they’re seeking leads in the crime.
Shaw’s mother, Sgt. Anita Shaw, who was fighting in Iraq on her second tour of duty when she got the news, is on her way home to make arrangements for her son’s funeral.
Why do you think the gang problem is more serious in Los Angeles than in most other cities?