We already reported this morning that 25-year-old Dennis Tillet was murdered around 10:30 p.m. while celebrating the Fourth of July with a group of people in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Now, an even younger Independence Day shooting victim has been identified:14-year-old Unique Russell, who was reportedly watching fireworks and playing with friends outside her grandma's home near 97th Street and Normandie Avenue when she was shot down at 10:20 p.m. The street was "loaded with children," reports KTLA, when witnesses say two gunmen opened fire -- possibly from inside a nearby van.
The victim's Facebook page says she's "in a relationship" and attends Washington Preparatory High School, located just one mile from the crime scene in unincorporated Westmont. A kid on Twitter named Antony, who says he was her boyfriend, writes to Russell: "u my baby 4 ever evon tho u gone im getting yo name tated on my arm i love u." As of this morning, a motive for her murder was unknown. Anyone with more information about the crime was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Update, 2 p.m.: According to the Los Angeles Times, last night was mayhem in South L.A.:
Happy 4th of July everybody be safe— Unique (@PlainOleUnique) July 4, 2012
Los Angeles police responded to at least eight shootings -- including two homicides -- during a six-hour period overnight in South L.A., where a modified tactical alert was called when police were pelted with lighted fireworks and other objects by reputed gang members.[@simone_electra / email@example.com / @LAWeeklyNews]