I was out late Friday night, and on the way home was diverted from my usual route because Lincoln Avenue was closed (steps around the corner from where this mess used to be). There were lots of police, and I knew something was wrong, really wrong.
The Pasadena Star News reports this morning that Ebony Huel, age 16, was fatally shot on Friday night.
From the article: (I have to put the text here because the PSN doesn’t maintain links.)
Police responded to a shots-fired call around 11 p.m. Friday and found the girl lying on a sidewalk in the 2000 block of Lincoln Avenue near Montana Street.
Pasadena police Detective Lt. John Dewar said the girl was not the intended victim. There was a party in a private building, he said, and the girl stepped outside just as a fight started.”Some guns came out and shots were fired,” Dewar said. “She was not the intended victim, but would have been in the way. That’s what we’re going with so far. But it’s preliminary. It was a private building, a business that had opened up in the evening,” he said. “It was a large gathering, couldn’t tell you how many. And we’re looking into the possibility of gang involvement.”
Alan Dyer, who owns Pasadena Rehearsal Studios next door to the business, said it has been the site of Friday and Saturday night parties for youths 18 and younger for the past 2 months. Dyer was in his office Friday night, but he said he didn’t hear any gunfire. “I was in my office and, through my video surveillance, I saw kids flying out the front door and back door, running,” he said.
“I came around, hear something about a gunshot, came outside and saw the girl lying on the ground over there.”
According to the lease, the business next door was a recording studio, he said, and also gave music lessons to students after school. “But what it turned into, the primary focus, was these Friday and Saturday night parties with fliers” he said. “Get ’em in for $5, $10 a head at the door. Pack ’em in, make their money and send them home at the end of the night.”
Police were constantly at the location, Dyer said, and would clear and close the overcrowded premises. It wasn’t a safe place for children, he said, even though he often saw parents drop children off at the location.
“I saw there was too many kids there, out of control, milling around, with cars squealing their tires,” he said. “One of my customers said they saw someone flash a gun out of a (car) window.” Dyer, who has been at the location almost three years, said two or three weeks ago another youth was shot while on his way to a party at the location.
Police have escalated gang- enforcement efforts following a surge of gang-related killings beginning early this year. There have been seven such shooting deaths in Pasadena during this period and another in Altadena. (City News Service contributed to this story firstname.lastname@example.org)
I drive past this part of Lincoln Avenue almost everyday, and I’ve seen these kids hanging out. What else is there to do in Pasadena if you are under 21 and don’t have a lot of money?
A few years back (around 2000), the City of Pasadena used CDBG funds to buy what is now called The CORAL Innovation Center in Northeast Pasadena. Using funds that are earmarked by the federal government to provide assistance for low-income areas, the city bought a piece of property across the street from Gerrish Swim and Tennis Club in Northeast Pasadena. Back then, it was widely recognized that there were no safe places for teenagers to hang out–this site was supposed to be that place. But just look how far this site is from where teenagers have actually been gathering this summer – LINK HERE. No wonder the programs that have evolved at CORAL don’t meet the original intent to provide a safe place for Northwest teens to socialize.
It’s not just CORAL. Coalition for a Non-Violent City, apparently suffering an identity crisis about whether it should actually run programs or be “coalition” (often a synonym for ‘another place for well-intentioned people to sit and talk’), is defunct. I wrote lots about it here (scroll down to “The Temptation to Start Something New). I recently learned from a former board member that the organization disbanded a few years ago.
Why is it that no local nonprofit has taken on creating a Youth Center? Because kids have weapons. Security would have to rival that of the TSA. Passing through a metal detector on the way to a social event–how ghetto is that? As the group War says, the World is a Ghetto (lyrics here).
I’d rather see a high security something operated by a nonprofit organization than an unlicensed, sleezy operation with no security. Who are these greaseballs offering “music lessons”?
My deepest condolences to Ebony’s family.