Patrick Caruthers, 19, was killed Tuesday afternoon while he was sitting on a park bench in Los Angeles. Detectives say an unknown shooter walked up to the developmentally disabled man and show him several times in the torso before fleeing in a dark-colored compact vehicle. Beverly White reports from Jackie Tatum Harvard Recreation Center for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2012.
A 19-year-old man was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon while sitting on a park bench in Los Angeles, according to LAPD.
The shooting, which detectives say appears to be gang related, went down around 3:15 p.m. at 1535 W. 62nd Street, near Jackie Tatum Harvard Recreation Center (map).
The victim was identified as Patrick Caruthers, according to LAPD. Friends say Caruthers was developmentally disabled, but often volunteered at the park.
"He was articulate. He didn't bother nobody. He went to school, he played piano and the drums for the church every Sunday. He didn't bother a soul," said Larry Gibson, friend.
On Tuesday night, several candles marked the park bench where Caruthers was shot.
"He's sitting right here with his backpack with earphones in his ear, not even worried about no gang banging, no nothing. But you're still gonna walk up on him and shooting him," said Bryan Smith, friend.
Initial information led detectives to believe the incident was a drive-by shooting, but further investigation suggests the shooter walked up to the victim, shot him multiple times in the torso then ran to a waiting vehicle and fled the scene southbound on Denker Avenue, said Officer Rosario Herrera with LAPD.
No suspect description was available Tuesday night, Herrera said. The suspect vehicle is described as a dark-colored compact vehicle.
Anyone with information is being urged to call LAPD 77th Division detectives.