SOUTH LOS ANGELES ( — A 19-year-old man with special needs was gunned down Tuesday while he was sitting on a park bench in South Los Angeles.

It happened around 3:15 p.m. at the Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center in the 1500 block of West 62nd Street.

Patrick Caruthers, a volunteer at the park, was shot multiple times in the back by an unidentified suspect, according to homicide detectives.

The victim died at the scene.

The suspect, who may have gang-related ties, sped away in a dark sedan.

Police said the shooting was unprovoked and no words were exchanged.

Gail Sears, Caruthers’ mother, said she is in shock about the murder of her eldest son.

“He did not have any enemies. He did not bother anybody. He tried to live his life. His love was music and going to church,” she said.

Sears said her son had special needs, including a learning disability and a speech impediment.

“He fought hard at everything he did, but he was determined to be functional and just be a person like everybody else,” she said.

Caruthers graduated from Manual Arts High School and was a student at a local vocational college.


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