LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A $50,000 reward was offered Tuesday for information leading to the arrest of a person suspected in the killing of a young man six months ago in the Hyde Park area of South Los Angeles.
Family members joined police investigators at a news conference Tuesday seeking justice for Gerrick Mykul Thomas. Detectives handed out fliers in the area where the victim was killed, hoping witnesses would come forward.
“I need justice for my kid. I need that dude that murdered my kid to be brought to justice,” said the victim’s mother, Demicha Lofton-Thomas. “That’s my goal to have him arrested, to have him charged, to have him convicted, to have him to serve life in prison. To take an innocent kid that didn’t gang bang, that was wrong. He was no angel. But he didn’t gang bang. He wasn’t bothering no body. He was just walking down the streets talking on the phone to his mama. Just imagine if I stayed on that phone one minute later, I would have heard that shot that took my son’s life.”
Lofton-Thomas said it’s been a living hell for her since her son’s murder. “I cry every day, every day.”
Her 21-year-old son was walking on 54th Street toward Ninth Avenue, returning to his grandmother’s house from the store when he was killed, according to press release by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Security video captured the shooter’s car moments before the murder. A 2014-2016 silver or gray Chevrolet Camaro with a black convertible top was seen signaling to turn left.
But detectives said when the suspects saw Thomas crossing the street (at the top left of the screen), the car turned right and followed him. Someone in the passenger seat got out, asked the victim where he was from then shot him multiple times.
Investigators said the shooter thought Thomas was a gang member, but he was not. “The suspects were just trolling. They were looking for a victim. And they saw him, a young male black, walking in what’s possibly their rival gang territory and just assumed he was a rival gang member,” Detective Eric Crosson said.
Police said Thomas had no gang ties and no criminal record. He was working as a security guard and going to school to become a nurse.
The suspect is described as a young black male who was wearing a baseball cap, tan jacket, dark pants and dark shoes.
“I need somebody to help. I understand it’s the street code. I just need somebody to help me find the person that murdered my son,” the victim’s mother said.
Anyone who has seen him is urged to Criminal Gang Homicide detectives at (323) 786-5113. After-hours and weekend calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-24-7.