For One Pasadena Neighborhood, Gun Violence Is Unrelenting

The streets were slick with rain in northwest Pasadena when Jamal Patterson went to watch “Monday Night Football” at his mother’s house last October.

The 24-year-old was sitting in a car with two other men across the street from his mother’s home after the game when someone shot into the car. Patterson usually sat on his mother’s front porch with his friends, but the recent rain made everything wet.

Patterson, a father of two, died three days later at Huntington Memorial Hospital.

One month later and one block over on Raymond Avenue, 13-year-old Iran Moreno was playing video games in his home when he was shot by someone who fired from the street. He was rushed to the same hospital as Patterson and died later that night.

“There’s always shooting, always gang violence around. They’re always hurting the most innocent people,” Iran’s cousin, Maria Balvaneda, said during a vigil at Villa Parke.

In Pasadena, shootings rose 22% between 2020 and 2021, from 60 to 73, according to the police department. Seven were killed in 2020 and six more last year.

The increase — part of a spike in homicides across Los Angeles County — has sparked grief, pain and outrage in a city marked by many upscale neighborhoods, as well as lower-income neighborhoods where crime has long been a problem, and some residents say city leaders are not doing enough to make conditions safer.

The shootings in Pasadena have been concentrated in the northwest part of the city, home to mostly Black and Latino residents. In response, city leaders and police have increased patrols in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the gun violence and have pledged to bolster after-school programs and invest in ShotSpotter technology.

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Gun Violence Hits 15-Year High In L.A., Taking Lives And Erasing Hard-Fought Gains

Sean Reynolds almost lost his life over a PlayStation.

The 17-year-old high school senior had arranged to sell his gaming console through the app OfferUp, and agreed to meet the buyer — another teenager — near a public housing complex in Watts. He intended to save the cash he earned for college expenses that fall.

Instead, one of two teens who met Reynolds at his car that hot day in May pulled out a gun and shot him, the bullet ricocheting off his hip and fragmenting through his abdomen. As he lay on the ground bleeding, he said, the second teen urged the first to fire again.

“Finish him off,” he heard the boy say

“I was in shock,” Reynolds, now 18, recalled in a recent interview with The Times. “It was a lot to process.”

Reynolds, who was badly wounded, is among more than 1,400 people who survived shootings in L.A. in 2021 — the second year in a row in which gun violence has increased in the city.

Had things gone differently — and they easily could have, given his extreme injuries — Reynolds would have been among the nearly 400 people killed in L.A. this year, whose deaths mark a more than 50% increase in homicides since 2019.

“We’ve seen all different types of surgeons,” said Qiuana Williams, Reynolds’ mother. “After reading his medical documents, they all look at him like he is a walking miracle.”

Amid a pandemic that has ravaged people’s financial and emotional reserves and undermined long-standing initiatives to stem violence, families like Reynolds’ are persevering through surgeries, physical therapy and the emotional labor of trying to pull their lives back together after being blindsided by bullets.

Other families — more than in any other year in L.A. since 2007 — were forced to plan funerals and process their first holiday season without sons, daughters, brothers and parents, whose lives were snatched away, mostly by gunmen.

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