‘It Broke Our Hearts': Family Seeks Justice in South LA Slaying

Vallan Gavilan was 21 and an aspiring bodybuilder.

His life wasn't supposed to end the way it did.

"It broke our hearts," Joy Franklin Gavilan said about the murder of her son. "That was my baby and they just took him."

Vallan Gavilan was 21-years-old and an aspiring bodybuilder. His death is now a stark reminder of the violence on South LA streets.

LAPD South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide detectives said there are very few details they know about the night Gavilan was shot. It happened off 87th and Figueroa Streets on March 26, 2016.

"The facts are very minimal," LAPD Detective Iris Romero said. "Which is not unusual for the area, just because people are afraid of the gang violence, afraid of retaliatory action if they speak up."

With tears in his eyes, Gavilan's brother Jamal Maxwell said Gavilan was never in a gang or associated with one.

"We're just not that kind of family," Maxwell said.

Why Gavilan was there at that moment on that day, at that time, no one can seem to understand. His father, Vallan Gavilan, Sr., said he tried to keep his sons away from the streets.

"And the streets killed him," he said.

Gavilan had just spoken to his son a few hours before the murder.

"He told me he was coming home," Gavilan said.

Two hours later, detectives were on his doorstep with the worst news a parent could hear.

"When they told me that, I ran to the back and I got my phone and I tried to call him," he said, sobbing. "But nothing."

Vallan died at the hospital.

LAPD is asking for anyone with information to come forward, even anonymously. Gavilan's family said informants should not be thought of as snitches, but rather as heroes for helping them heal after their devastating loss.

Anyone with information can call (323) 786-5100.

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