LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A local mother is pleading for an end to gang violence after her son was allegedly shot by gang members in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

Bijan Shoushtari, 18, was shot three times around midnight on Aug. 3 while riding in a car with friends on Crenshaw Blvd.

Shoushtari was a recent graduate of Hamilton High School, where he was the captain of the football team and worked at his local church. He was headed to college in two weeks.

LAPD Detective Sal LaBarbera said Shoushtari and two friends were driving in the area for about an hour, playing music and seeing other friends, “when most likely he was mistaken for a rival gang member.”

Shoushtari was rushed to the hospital but died two days later from severe blood loss. His family was by his side.

“You couldn’t have told me that when we were in the hospital that he wasn’t coming home,” said his mother, Marsha Jones-Shoushtari. “I just knew that he was going to be able to tell his story.”

His grieving mother now hopes that her son’s murder will send a message to the community to take a stand against gang violence.

“It’s a war out here,” said Jones-Shoushtari. “We are losing our black men, our African American men, either to death or to prison. Our kids don’t have a future.”

Flowers now fill the family’s home, and a guestbook is filled with signatures of dozens who have come to mourn.

“I’ve never had a friend like him, you know I’ve known him basically all my life,” said one friend. “He’s just a great friend, nothing you could replace.”

Police have made no arrests and are working with very few leads. They are reviewing video from security cameras up and down Crenshaw Blvd., but have not found footage of the shooter’s car.

“This is a random act of violence…perpetrated by gang members,” said Det. LaBarbera. “And we know that people out there know who the suspects are. They know who is responsible.”


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