Reginald McLendon had helped set up for his big brother's big 60th birthday bash at his home in Gramercy Park all afternoon on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.
He didn't know then that the celebration of life would end, with the taking of his own. It was just after 1 a.m. on the Sept. 17 when Reggie and his brother were outside saying goodbye to some family and friends who had come to celebrate, when two young Black men approached and fired multiple shots.
LAPD South Bureau Homicide Detective Jonathan Kincaid says the two then ran up the block to a waiting SUV and disappeared into the night.
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In the aftermath: Reggie's brother was shot but survived. Reggie was shot and died.
"It's hard because every time I walk down the driveway, I still see him there," Lara McLendon says of the home she shared with her husband. "It went from us singing happy birthday to his brother to us thinking it was fireworks and me seeing my husband laying on the ground."
The LAPD released new surveillance video of the SUV they believed to be involved in the crime — a late-90s model Chevy Suburban with chrome wheels, tinted windows, a roof rack and some sort of rectangular white item on the front dash.
Even though it's been a year since the homicide, they believe someone can recognize that vehicle and lead them to the killers.
"We do need the community's help in providing closure to this family," Detective Kincaid says.
"Reggie was a father, he was a husband, he was a best friend," Mrs. McLendon recalls. "People do need to understand that when you take a life, you not only hurt the family but you hurt the community."
Reggie's daughter Jazmine says whoever killed her dad couldn't have known the man she knew and loved.
"He was an amazing, amazing person," she says. "My daughter, his granddaughter, she was only 2 and she'll never get to spend the rest of her life growing up with her grandfather and I lost out on having my dad."
"My dad's intentions in life were to always help because what he always preached to me is love," Robert Bell says, stepson to Reggie.
Bell says he believes his dad would have already forgiven his own killer, and hopes that whoever pulled the trigger may also have just a little bit of love inside his heart that could help them step forward and take responsibility for what they've done.
"I hope there's love in that person's heart somewhere," he says.
Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD South Bureau Homicide at 323-786-5100.