More than four months after a teenager was gunned down in Compton, authorities are asking for the public’s help in solving the case.
Ricardo Trujillo Ramirez, 16, was leaving a party with his friends around 11:50 p.m. Sept. 24 near the 1900 block of Pine Street when they were confronted by another group and a fight broke out, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. At some point, one of the suspects shot Ricardo in the upper torso.
He died at the scene, deputies said.
On Monday, Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives and Ricardo’s family said they hope someone comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.
Norma Ramirez, Ricardo’s mother, said her son was a driven and respectful boy who aspired to serve in the military and become a law enforcement officer.
“He deserves justice. It’s not easy to get up every day and know that he’s not here only because of a person that decided to take his life,” Ramirez said in Spanish. “My life doesn’t have meaning without him.”
On the day he died, Ricardo was invited to a party in Gardena, his mother said. Like always, he asked for permission, said exactly where he’d be and asked what time she’d like for him to be back home.
That night, she found out her son was shot in Compton and asked his friends why they weren’t in Gardena like he said they’d be. They told her the party ended, so they went to another party in Compton.
Ramirez searched several hospitals but didn’t find her son. She found out her son was dead after she got to the scene.
Ricardo was not involved in gangs and did not use drugs or drink alcohol, said his mother, who added that he wanted to help people and that she will always be proud of her son.
“At this time, we do not have suspect information and we need the public’s help,” said Lt. Hugo Reynaga of the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau. “We have very limited information on this case and that’s why we’re out here asking for help from the public.”
Reynaga declined to say whether there was surveillance footage of the fight or shooting.
The suspects are believed to be teenagers who were also at the party, he said.
Ricardo’s girlfriend, Gabriella Santiago, echoed his mother’s grief and calls for help.
“Not only did I lose my boyfriend, but I also lost my best friend,” Gabriella said. “It is just very unjust the way his life was taken.”
Ricardo was a special, sweet, smart and hardworking person who understood her in a way no one else did, she said, adding that his family doesn’t deserve the pain they’ve been left with.
Gabriella said Ricardo told her about his plans to go to Gardena.
After he and his friends ended up in Compton, he messaged her to say he was getting a bad feeling about being there, she said.
“He told me that he wasn’t trying to die,” Gabriella said.
Ricardo, a Lomita resident, was a junior at Narbonne High School in Harbor City, deputies said. He enjoyed playing soccer, swimming and fishing.
He dreamed of becoming a drone pilot in the Air Force and was part of a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program as well as the U.S. Cadet Corps, a nonprofit military youth program, according to deputies and his family.
He is survived by his mother, father and siblings, deputies said.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved a $10,000 reward for information on the case. On Monday, Jack Thomas of the U.S. Cadet Corps announced that the nonprofit would add $5,000 to the reward total.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by visiting lacrimestoppers.org.