Feb. 23 is the one-year anniversary of the death of Lareanz Simmons. The 14-year-old was gunned down while walking back to the home he lived in with his grandmother. In her first interview since her grandson's death, Bernice Hobdy opens up about the pain she has had to live with. Jacob Rascon reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2013.
Over the past year, Bernice Hobdy has made a weekly routine of visiting the gravesite of her grandson Lareanz Simmons.
"I think he knows I'm here," Hobdy said.
The 14-year-old was a freshman at Riverside Poly High School when he was gunned down, shot in the back of the head as he was walking to the Riverside home where he lived with his grandmother.
"I'm not as angry as I was. I'm not as angry. And I just try to think about the good things and I really believe he's in a good place," Hobdy said.
Friday's interview with NBC4 was the first time Hobdy spoke to the media about her grandson's death.
Simmons was almost home, close enough that his grandmother witnessed his murder.
"I see someone walking and I see the car come the opposite way, and the car stopped right there. And then I heard the four or five shots," she said.
One year later, despite a $50,000 reward, Riverside police still don't know who killed Simmons. They believe the shooter was a Hispanic man, and that the shooting was racially motivated, and possibly gang related. Simmons however was not affiliated with any gang.
"If it was a gang-related murder, usually both parties are gang members," said Bryan Galbreath of the Riverside Police Department. "In this case, we have no motives as to why this youth was gunned down. He wasn't a gang member. He wasn't in trouble. He did well in school. He was involved with family."
Saturday, Feb. 23 marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Simmons. His grandmother has kept the room the way he left it.
"I feel disappointed," she said. "I know someone saw [the shooter] there."
"They say with time, it would get easier, but it's been a year and it hasn't gotten any easier," Hobdy said.
The Riverside Police Department urged anyone with information about the shooting to call an anonymous tip line at 951-353-7600, or to call 951-787-7911. Even an anonymous tip leading to an arrest would make the tipster eligible for the reward.