Hundreds of mourners poured into a Riverside church Tuesday for the funeral of Lareanz Simmons, a 14-year-old who was fatally shot in February while walking home from a friend's house.
The service for the Riverside Poly High freshman was held at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where the Riverside School District superintendent, Riverside Poly High principal, friends and family members gathered to pay their last respects.
The Junior Army ROTC group that Simmons belonged to was also in attendance, dressed in uniform.
Simmons was described by friends and pastors as a kind-hearted young man who gave service to his community in his spare time.
But his life was cut short on Feb. 23. Simmons borrowed a video game from a neighbor. While walking to his grandmother's home, where he lived, a man jumped out of a vehicle and shot Simmons five to six times at close range, police said.
Simmons managed to walk the half block to his driveway where he collapsed.
He was kept on life support for five days before his family made the decision to take him off, and Simmon's death was declared a murder.
"I know someone knows something," Bernice Hobdy, the victim's grandmother, said at a news conference Monday. "I know someone knows who did this, and if you would just come, just come and tell someone because it's something we're all going to have to live with."
His murder may have been a random act of gang-related violence, police said, but Simmons had no gang affiliations.
The assailant is described as possibly a Hispanic male in his late teens to early twenties, according to a press release from the Riverside Police Department.
Community members in Riverside and the Eastside neighborhood where Simmons was killed were outraged at the teen's death.
During Tuesday's service, friends and pastors spoke of a need to end the violence in the area and the racial tensions between Latinos and African Americans.
Simmon's family has urged the community to call police with tips about the shooting.
A $50,000 reward has been offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailant.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact Riverside Detective Ron Sanfilippo at 951-353-7105, Detective Mike Medici at 951-353-1704, or anonymously at 1-800-782-7463.