It has become a well known ritual in Echo Park: first shots are heard followed eventually by sirens and the buzzing of police and media helicopters overhead. Then a sidewalk shrine of votive candles and flowers appear on the sidewalk as grief-stricken family members come to grips with the loss of a loved while neighbors express outrage and police pledge to find the killers. The same scenario is playing out now in the wake of the killing of four-year-old Roberto Lopez, the fourth Echo Park youngster to be killed in a shooting in a little more than two years. None of the three previous murders have been resolved. Another scene of anguish as captured by the LA Times:
The cycle of violence rolls on in Echo Park
“Roberto Jr.’s father briefly emerged from inside the home, sobbing and cradled by relatives. He knelt on the sidewalk at the makeshift shrine assembled by the neighborhood for his son and carefully placed the boy’s action figures — a green Hulk and purple Power Ranger — among the candles and flowers.
‘I just want this to stop,’ he cried to himself. ‘Can’t this just stop?'”
Photo: Chicken Corner/LA Observed