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Teen girl Unique Russell dead — 2 others injured in July 4 Westmont shooting

Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Candles are lit where a 14-year-old girl was shot last night in a Westmont neighborhood. Two suspects are at large.

Fourteen-year-old Unique Russell was killed on the Fourth of July when two men started shooting into a crowd in a Westmont neighborhood.

The shooting injured two other people: a 12-year-old girl who was Russell’s cousin and a 21-year-old man who lives across the street. Both were shot in the leg and are recovering at a hospital. L.A. Sheriff’s homicide detectives are still searching for the suspects.

Neighbors placed candles and roses where Russell apparently fell. Blood stained a bit of the grass there. Her broken eyeglasses remained. 

Emily Sharp, who said she was 14-year-old Unique Russell's aunt, picked up the broken pieces of eyeglasses. She said the high school freshman died from a gunshot wound to the right side of her body. 

“She [was] in the prime of her life, 14. Innocent child, life taken away,” Sharp said.

Witnesses said the two men approached the crowd from the corner of the street at Normandie and West 97th and opened fire.

“I was inside but I heard bang, bang,” said Mary Dill, another aunt. “I probably heard about six shots.”

Neighbors on the block say the shooting surprises them. Sharp said many of the people who live on the corner of the block are all relatives who have lived on West 97th Street for forty years.

The shooting happened at 10:21 p.m. Wednesday in the 1300 block of W. 97th Street, near the 110 and 105 interchange. An L.A. County Sheriff’s spokesperson said a group of people was standing in front of the house when two men walked up and opened fire.

A family member who spoke to KTLA said there were several kids playing in the street because of the Fourth of July celebrations.

This story has been updated.

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