LOS ANGELES, Calif.–County supervisors today offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to a gunman who fired shots into a Fourth of July crowd, killing a teenage girl, and also renewed an unrelated $10,000 reward to encourage witnesses of a fatal Long Beach shooting to come forward.
Last July 4, 14-year-old Unique Russell and her cousins were watching fireworks in front of 1346 West 97th Street in unincorporated Westmont when two gunmen fired several shots into the crowd. The girl was fatally wounded and 12-year-old Rekell Reeves and 25-year-old Freddy Pickett were also shot but
The Board of Supervisors first offered a $10,000 reward in the case last July. Based on witness information, alleged gang member Michael Staton, 20, was arrested Dec. 14 and charged with Unique’s murder and two counts of attempted murder.
A special circumstances allegation that the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang could result in the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if Staton is convicted. He is being held in lieu of $4 million bail.
The other unidentified suspect remains at large, according to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who recommended offering the additional $10,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest.
In an emotional news conference two days after the shooting, Unique’s mother, Donna Wade, begged witnesses to come forward.
“We have a code around here–nobody say anything–and because of that our kids are dying,” Wade said. “So, how many of our kids have to die to uphold a war? A war that doesn’t exist. It’s in our minds … There’s casualties on both sides and nobody’s going to win.”
Anyone with information was asked to call sheriff’s Sgt. Kenneth Perry or Detective Gary Sloan at the Homicide Bureau, (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Also today, the board approved the extension of a $10,000 reward for information that helps solve the slaying of 50-year-old Seaborn Mason, who was shot shortly before midnight last July 23 while standing in front of a convenience store in the 400 block of East South Street in Long Beach.
There were several people in the area and none of them reported hearing an argument or seeing an altercation before hearing several shots fired, according to Supervisor Don Knabe, who recommended extending the reward for another 90 days.
Anyone with information was asked to call Long Beach police Detectives Malcolm Evans or Todd Johnson at (562) 570-7247.