LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Family members of a Cal State Northridge student who was shot to death joined Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and the Los Angeles Police Department Tuesday to mark the 15th anniversary of the killing by asking for the public's help in solving the case.
Clifton "Cliff" Hibbert Jr., a 22-year-old aspiring attorney who was about two weeks shy of his college graduation, and his 23-year-old friend, Kenneth Patterson, were killed March 28, 2008, in the 4200 block of South Figueroa Street.
Adrian Gonzalez, commanding officer of the LAPD's South Bureau Homicide Division, told reporters that police have "no fresh leads to pursue at this time."
The two young men had gone with friends to the San Fernando Valley for a celebration and were dropped off in South Los Angeles, where one of the friends lived, while their other two friends searched for a place to park. The victims made contact with a male and female who were standing in front of the location and "then the shooting occurs," Gonzalez said.
The young man's mother, Donna Brown, said she remembers her last interaction with her son -- in which he told her that he loved her -- while he was on spring break like "it was yesterday." She said hearing the "heartbreaking news" of her son's death "hit me to the core of my being."
"It was a bullet from a gun in the hands of evil on March the 28th, 2008," she said. "It's been 15 years and my son's case is still unsolved ... I'm pleading with the community to take a stand for justice, justice for Cliff, justice for your community, for your loved ones because it takes a village. It takes a village to keep your community safe."
Hibbert's sister, Ayanna Parker, said, "It really just feels like it was the other day, unfortunately."
She called her brother's killing a "slaughter" and said it is "very heartbreaking" that he wasn't able to see his dreams fulfilled.
The district attorney said Hibbert was "full of life," "not involved in criminal activity" and the "epitome of the American dream" as a first-generation American born to parents from Jamaica.
"He went to school, he worked hard. He so much wanted to make our community a better place and yet, at age 22, his life was cut short for no reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Gascón said.
"We know that there are people out there that know who the killer is, and we know there are hundreds of other unsolved cases in our community that have been going on for the last several decades," the county's top prosecutor said. "Every time we have an unsolved homicide we have a killer that is out there potentially harming other members of our community," Gascón said.
Police asked that anyone with information about the shooting contact the LAPD South Bureau Homicide's unsolved unit at 323-786-5100 or https://lacrimestoppers.org to offer an anonymous tip.
"Ms. Brown, Cliff's mom, and Ayanna, his sister, have had the courage to persevere for the last 15 years and to continue to keep Cliff's name alive," Gonzalez, the LAPD commanding officer, said -- imploring anyone within the community to "have the courage" to come forward with information that could help police.