Los Angeles

Teen Avoids Gang Life, Only To Be Killed By It

Larry McKay was only 16 years old when he died. It was July 17, 2014. His mother, Lakisha Thomas, mourns his loss every single day.

"This is a kid,” she said. "What would y’all wanna hurt a kid for?"

LAPD’s South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide Division had a busy night that night in South Los Angeles – at least three people were killed in gang-related shootings.

But for McKay, his family shared a Facebook post of his, written just three weeks before his murder. In it, he writes about his frustrations with the gang lifestyle he saw around him:

"Men life is crazy now of days people dieing people killing hoods going back nd force it’s not cool that’s somebody’s love one I watch this video on YouTube called (Why we bang). Nd that just made me look at this gangbanging life real different but most crazy part is u don’t know what u getting yo self into…. Intel it’d to late to get out of but once u start u can’t stop but remember u can always try to change that video really got a ***** up thinking we loosening family every day friends every day. But goodnight Facebook" (sic)

McKay was nine blocks from home the night he died, in the area of 51st and Normandie. LAPD Detective Fernando Cuevas said a gun found near his body was not the murder weapon, but investigators still aren’t sure if it played a role in the shooting somehow.

"It’s unknown how he got here, but he ended up being shot in this driveway," Cuevas said, pointing up 51st Street where shell casings scattered across 40 feet. IIt’s unknown if it was a drive-by or a walk-up."

"We all hurt and we wish it would stop," said McKay’s grandmother Tamara Bingham. Bingham admits McKay was surrounded by gang culture in his life.

"He grew up with it in his family," she said.

His mother added, “Family of friends, his brothers, his dad. I got three boys. He was the baby boy."

But life was different for McKay. His family said he denounced the gang life, studied hard in school, prayed often at church and never left his mom’s side.

"He was a good kid!" Thomas cried. “I don’t understand why this happen to my baby!"

The pain creeps into the family’s life every day. "You don’t get over things like this, when all you have is memories, just pictures," his grandmother said.

The pictures that bring a spark of joy these days for Larry’s mom and grandma are of a little girl named London – Larry didn’t live to learn he was about to be a dad.

"She makes me smile again,” his mother said. "Even though I know she’s not my son, I see my son in that baby."

LAPD’s South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide Division has a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Larry McKay’s killer or killers.

Tips can be called in anonymously at 323-786-5100.

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