Sunday, November 1, 2009

[Cambodian-American] Girl killed after Poly-Wilson game called 'innocent bystander'

Melody Ross, 16, seen on the LCD monitor of a friend's camera.
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Friends and classmates of Wilson High School junior, Melody Ross, 16, gather on Ximeno Ave. between 7th and 10th streets adjacent to Wilson on Saturday, October 31, 2009 to mourn Ross s death in a Friday night shooting. Ross and friends were leaving the school s football game against crosstown rival Poly when Ross was struck by a stray bullet. Two other males were wounded. (Diandra Jay/Press-Telegram)

Man wounded in second incident Friday night


By John Canalis and Greg Mellen, Staff Writers
Long Beach Press Telegram

LONG BEACH -- The 16-year-old girl shot and killed after the football game between Poly and Wilson high schools was believed to have been "an innocent bystander who was not involved" in the altercation, City Councilman Gary DeLong said Saturday morning.

The girl went to Wilson High School, the 3rd District councilman said. Her identity was not released by officials but she was identified Saturday morning as Melody Ross by a cousin, Han Yin, who was among mourners gathering at the scene near the high school.

The girl, a junior and one of three victims in the 10 p.m. Friday attack near 10th Street and Ximeno Avenue, died in an area hospital, the Long Beach Police Department reported.

Two men, ages 18 and 20, were also injured in the shooting. They were hospitalized with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

The other two victims are not believed to be students at either Wilson or Poly, DeLong said, citing preliminary police information.

The shooting occurred sometime after 10 p.m., shortly after Wilson had lost to arch-rival Poly High School 34-15.

Friends said that the dead teen's parents had come to the United States fleeing the "Killing Fields" of Cambodia, and had recently moved to a new home that they considered a safer place to live.

DeLong, whose district includes Wilson High, said he was told police have strong leads in the case but was not yet aware of any arrests.

"It's a horrific event," DeLong said, "and my heart goes out to the families."

DeLong said police have not yet been able to determine what led to the altercation.

LBPD is the finest law enforcement agency in California and I have no doubt they will find and arrest the criminals who committed this horrific act.

I've been in constant contact beginning last evening with Deputy Chief Luna, City Manager Pat West, both Wilson Co-Principals and concerned parents. All City resources will be available for Wilson High School to access both over the weekend, and continuing as necessary.

"Having a daughter who recently graduated from Wilson High, I feel a personal connection to the family who lost a daughter as a result of this atrocity," DeLong said.

By mid-Saturday morning, friends and classmates had gathered at the scene and a temporary memorial of flowers, signs and balloons had begun to grow. On the nearby football field, young players were tossing around balls.

Anyone with information, video or photos involving the shooting is asked to call Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Scott Lasch and Malcolm Evans at (562) 570-7244.

In a second incident, police were flagged down in the area of Atlantic Avenue and 4th Street at about 9:30 p.m. Friday by a person who had just been carjacked. He pointed out his vehicle, which was leaving the scene.

Officers stopped the vehicle in the area of 4th Street and Cerritos Avenue where an officer-involved shooting occurred. The suspect refused to exit the vehicle after numerous attempts were made to get him out. SWAT came to the scene and the suspect was taken into custody. He was transported to a hospital, where is being treated for his life-threatening injuries. No officers were injured.

In addition to the Long Beach Police Department's ongoing investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is also conducting an independent investigation, which is routine for all "hit" officer involved shootings that occur in Los Angeles County.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is urged to contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Bryan McMahon and Teri Hubert at (562) 570-7244.

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