Hundreds of people and more than a dozen churches will mobilize on Saturday to remember a 14-year-old ROTC cadet from Riverside who was killed last month.
Lareanz Simmons was a student at Poly High School in Riverside and a cadet in the Junior Army ROTC. He was on his way home, dressed in his ROTC uniform, when witnesses say he was gunned down by an unidentified Latino male in his early 20s.
Authorities say there’s evidence the boy tried to flee.
Lareanz is described by friends and family as loving and outgoing. Police say he had no gang ties. He was a kid who appeared to be doing everything right.
Pastor Edward Avila of Victory Outreach Ministries in east Riverside says that’s why his death has sparked so much outcry.
"That's our concern," says Avila. "That these young kids, they don’t even feel safe going to school because of what’s been happening — young good kids getting killed out in the streets."
Victory Outreach is one of the organizers behind the "Peace & Unity in Our Community" march.
"The aim is to bring our community to the awareness that people care enough to do something about this gang activity," says Avila. "We want to make it known to these gang members that we care enough to have this life change and reach out to the very hardcore gang members that exist here in the community.”
Marchers will make a 15-block trek to the Riverside Faith Temple for a remembrance service.
The city and county of Riverside are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Lareanz Simmons’ killer.
Saturday’s march begins at 2:30 p.m. in East Riverside, followed by the memorial.