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The Los Angeles City Council has renewed a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the murder of De’Jon Ward, a 21-year-old man from Victorville who was shot to death on July 12 after he stopped at a 7-Eleven near Venice and Crenshaw boulevards to look up directions.
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, 10th District, initiated the reward last year and said it is important to keep the case in the public eye. Ward was a former football standout at Charter Oak High School who moved to Victorville in 2009 and was attending Victor Valley College at the time of the murder.
“What happened to De’Jon Ward was a tragedy,” Wesson said. “We need to find whoever committed this terrible crime and get them off our streets. It is encouraging that the LAPD hasn’t given up on this case, and my hope is that their efforts will succeed.”
Ward drove to the Mid-City area on July 12 to pick up a paycheck from a security company he was working for and became lost. Authorities said Ward stopped in a 7-Eleven parking lot and was in the process of obtaining directions when two male suspects in an SUV pulled into the lot. The men got out and confronted the victim, asking Ward where he was from before one of them pulled out a handgun and fired. Ward drove out of the lot but crashed into a nearby building. He was later pronounced dead.
Authorities pieced together the series of events through statements from witnesses and family members with whom Ward was in contact shortly before the shooting, as well as surveillance camera footage from the convenience store. The suspects’ vehicle is a grey or silver Nissan Armada, and they were last seen driving away from the scene northbound on 12th Avenue. One of the suspects was described as possibly being Hispanic, and was wearing a light-colored shirt and shorts. The second suspect is possibly African American, and was wearing a dark-colored shirt and shorts. The surveillance camera footage is not clear enough for detectives to make an exact determination about the suspects’ age or ethnicity. Footage of the suspects can be viewed at www.lapdonline.org.
Det. Steven Katz, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau Homicide Unit, said Ward’s family has been actively assisting in the investigation, and recently handed out flyers in the neighborhoods around the crime scene seeking information. Katz said the reward is an important tool for investigators because it provides an incentive for someone to come forward.
“We are continuing to work [the case]. It’s unfortunate because the information has been slow in coming in,” Katz said. “[The reward] can be very helpful, particularly when we don’t have much to go on.”
Anyone with information is urged to call detectives with the LAPD’s West Bureau Homicide Unit at (213)382-9470. During weekends and off-hours, call the LAPD’s hotline at (877)LAPD247. Anonymous tips can also be made to Crime Stoppers at (800)222-TIPS, or texted to 274637. All text messages should begin with the letters LAPD.
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