Special needs college student victim of gang-style killing

NBC Los Angeles

Patrick Caruthers, 19, was pronounced dead at a South L.A. park after being shot several times in the torso. Investigators say the shooting was most likely gang-related.

A special needs college student was gunned down while sitting on a bench in a South Los Angeles park.

Police say that 19-year-old Patrick Caruthers was shot several times in the torso on Tuesday afternoon at the Jackie Tatum-Harvard Recreation Center.

According to the City News Service, a gunman ran up to him and fired before leaving the park in a compact car. Investigators said the shooting was most likely gang-related, the L.A. Times reports.

“[The shooter] thought he was targeting a gang member. At 3 o’clock in the afternoon, somebody doesn’t walk up and shoot somebody on a park bench. That is something a gang member would do,” LAPD Det. Chris Barling told the Times.

Caruthers, who had a learning disability and a speech impediment, attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

He was also a volunteer in the Summer Night Lights program, an anti-gang effort to provide activities for youths during the evening.

In an interview with KCAL9, the boy's mother, Gail Sears, said that her son stayed out of trouble.

"He did not have any enemies. He did not bother anybody. He tried to live his life. His love was music and going to church,' she said.

Officials are still looking for information on the suspect, according to NBC Los Angeles.

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