POMONA (CBSLA.com) — Neighbors left flowers at the front of the home Tuesday where 8-year-old Jonah Hwang was killed in a drive-by shooting. Earlier Pomona police went door-to-door, desperate to find potential witnesses. The gunman is still at large.
“I just heard about six gunshots in succession right away,” Justin Armijo said.
One neighbor heard the car speed away, but didn’t see it. Pomona police say they have very little to go on. No eye witnesses or security camera video. The neighborhood is reeling from the senseless violence.
“There are no words for this. It’s horrible,” a neighbor said.
Police say the boy was having dinner around 6:30 with his family and their friends who live at the house when the shooting happened. There were six kids total inside the home, including the two children who live there. Hwang was the only one shot.
“Those people didn’t even live there and that little boy lost his life. The family is destroyed.”
Hwang was adopted from an orphanage in Taiwan three years ago. In a statement his family wrote of their son “He had an infectious smile and loved everyone and everything: sports, wrestling with his dad, running, laughing, superheroes. With his playful demeanor, he adapted almost immediately to life in the United States and became a full-blooded American in no time at all.”
There are bullet holes in the garage and the front of the house. Hwang was in the living room when he was hit. Police say just one month ago, the house was also the target of a drive by shooting, but no one was home at the time. The family who lives here have no gang ties. Neighbors say the parents are both teachers and host a weekly bible study at their home.
The people who own the home that was targeted met Jonah’s parents at church. Detectives say both families are involved in the community and education.
The Mayor of Pomona says he knows Jonah and his parents and says they are great people who moved to the city to do volunteer work.
“We’re heartbroken. This was a tragic event in our community. It’s a senseless act,” Tim Sandoval said.
Police do not know if this was a random or targeted attack. The family has lived here for more than a decade, so they’re trying to find out why the house was shot at two times in two months.