Six security cameras with a panning capability that provides 360-degree views have been installed at Jackie Tatum-Harvard Recreation Center (map) four months after a 19-year-old man was shot and killed as he sat on a park bench.
Patrick Caruthers was listening to music on the bench at 3 p.m. Sept. 28 when a gunman shot him several times in the back. The Los Angeles Trade Technical College student was a volunteer at the park until he was hired to work with the Summer Night Lights anti-gang program.
Funding for the cameras was approved by the LA City Council seven months before the Caruthers shooting and moved to the City Administrative Office in August. The plan did not move out of the Public Safety Committee until a month later.
The new cameras were dedicated in honor of Caruthers, with a commemorative plaque to be displayed on the park grounds.
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"I am glad that the cameras are now installed," said Gail Sears, Caruthers' mother. "My only regret is they weren't installed prior to my son's murder."
No arrests have been made in the Caruthers shooting. The gunman -- no description was provided to investigators -- ran to a nearby vehicle in the 1500 block of West 62nd Street.
"We do believe Patrick was mistaken for being a gang member, just because of his age and where he was located," said LAPD detective Stacey Szymkowiak. "I can't count how many people have come forward and said what a great individual he was."
A $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest was approved by the Los Angeles City Council. Caruthers' mother called the shooting a "very cowardly" act when the award was announced.
The park has undergone improvements -- a swimming pool, skate park and refurbished playing field -- but residents have long anticipated the cameras' installation.
Information about the slaying can be provided to the LAPD Criminal Gang Homicide Division at 213-485-4341.