An LAPD area commander says police have learned a bit more about the shooter who killed 19-year-old Patrick Caruthers at Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center on Sept. 25, but are going to need a "big break" to make any arrests.
LAPD Captain Robert Arcos, who heads the department's 77th Street Division, said detectives now know the killer is a black male who fled in a dark compact car.
On Sept. 25, Caruthers was sitting on a bench in the park when someone ran up to him from behind and gunned him down. The murder left the community in shock – police and local residents both said Caruthers was good kid who wasn't involved with gangs and was well-known in the Harvard Park area.
Previously, detectives said the gang element of the shooting was unclear, but Arcos said right now, police are working under the assumption that he's a gang member. They're unsure which gang the shooter is from, but they do know that a gang called the 62 Brims claims the area where Caruthers died as its turf.
"Because there are so many enemies that [the 62 Brims] do have there, it can be a number of different gangs," said Arcos.
Compounding the problem is the Brims' taking justice into their own hands. Arcos says there may have been a few retaliatory shootings carried out by the Brims, but police aren't sure if they're hitting the shooter that killed Caruthers.
"It's going to take help from the public – a good eyewitness, someone who's heard something," said Arcos.
On Friday, Sept. 28, the City Council approved a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Caruthers' death.
"Really, the reward is nice to have," said Arcos. "But the senseless killing of a 19-year-old man who, by all accounts, was just a good kid with a good heart – that should be enough. But hopefully the $50,000 does leverage somebody to come forward."
Arcos also mentioned that proposed security cameras for the park where Caruthers died have at long last been approved, and that he's hopeful installation will be complete within 10 to 12 weeks.
Folks with any information they'd like to share with law enforcement can do so by calling (800) 222-TIPS or texting TIPLA (84752). Callers who want to remain anonymous may do so. They may also call 77th St. detectives at (213) 485-1383.