Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Shooting Victim Remains In Coma, Perpetrator Remains Mystery
Los Angeles Times 30Mar00 D2
By Jerry Hicks
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- An 11-year-old LDS boy, Phillip Talalima,
remains mostly in a coma with a bullet in his brain six weeks after
he was shot down on a quiet Santa Ana street. Police still have no
leads on why Talalima was shot, let alone by whom.
As reported by Mormon News [see
who lived in Lynwood with his family, had attended Church with his
family at an LDS chapel in Santa Ana. After Church, the family
visited relatives North of Hazard Avenue in Santa Ana. Phillip, his
13-year-old brother and three teenage boys then decided to walk to a
Jack-in-the-Box restaurant nearby for something to eat at about 10:30
On the way to the restaurant, the boys looked at some bicycles in the
front yard of one house. The owner came out and yelled at the kids.
Startled, they scattered. Someone chased them and fired several shots
from a handgun at them. Police have ruled out the owner who yelled at
them as a suspect. Talalima was shot in the head, falling to the
ground near a newly-painted hydrant more than a block south of the
yard where the confrontation started, and about 75 yards from where
the shell casings from the shooting were found.
Police have diligently worked the area looking for information and
clues, interviewing some people in the area two and three times. But
they have been unable to discover a suspect they could arrest, "We
need someone to come forward," said Santa Ana Police Sgt. Raul Luna.
"Someone in one of those houses on that block knows something." Luna
thinks that whoever fired the shots didn't realize the boys were so
young. Talalima is nearly 6 feet, very tall for his age. The other
boys are also large.
Neighbors in the area are baffled by the mystery. Resident Don Baker,
who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years, says he'll never
forget that night. His wife called 911 after they heard the shots.
Baker saw Talalima lying on the ground from his lawn, and later
discovered that the police found the shell casings in front of his
driveway. "Whoever fired had to have been running down the street
after those boys," Baker said. "The boy [who was] shot simply wasn't
as fast as his friends, who were older and got away."
Talalima was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, the same hospital
where he was born, and he remains there. While the family has asked
that information about his condition not be released, police say his
condition is so grave that he can't talk with them.
Meanwhile rumors are circulating among the neighbors, including one
that the shooter ran away from the scene and jumped into a truck, but
the police can't verify the rumor. "We're all just baffled by this,"
says Baker. "I'd like to think the shooter wasn't one of my
neighbors." But police think that there's a good chance that's
exactly who it was, Someone with a gun in the house who grabbed it on
impulse. "We have our own theories but still nothing concrete to go
on," Luna said. "What we need is someone to step forward to guide us
in the right direction. We desperately ask for the public's
assistance on this."