November 14, 2013
By Kenneth D. Miller
Assistant Managing Editor
The tears of pain was still fresh for more than a dozen family and friends who gathered at Los Angeles Police Department 77th Street Division Station on Nov. 7 as detectives announced the City of Los Angeles has posted a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the August 3 murder of 18-year old Bijan Shoushtari.
Shoushtari, a captain on the Hamilton High School football team and devout Christian, was riding as the front seat passenger of a 1973 Buick Electra at approximately 12 a.m. Aug. 3 traveling north bound on Crenshaw Blvd and approaching Vernon Ave. when a grey or silver vehicle pulled alongside the passenger said and gunshots were fired striking the teen multiple times. He died two days later as a result of his injuries on Aug. 5 at Cedars Sinai Hospital.
LAPD detectives believe that Shoushtari was a victim of mistaken identity, but his untimely murder has left his grief stricken family, church community, former teammates and friends both angered and sadden at how a young Black man who was doing everything right in his live could meet such a devastating fate.
Among the many at the press conference announcing the reward were his doting mother Marsha Shoushtari, aunt Grovetta Jones and a host of other family members and friends which included former LAUSD Board Member Rita Walters.
“Since August we’ve been asking for the public’s help on this case,” said LAPD Det. Paul Funicello. “We reviewed hundreds of hours of video tape, he detectives have exhausted most of their leads.”
Det. Funicello presented a composite drawing of a person who was in the vicinity of the murder and possible may have witnessed the incident or could offer clues that could help the investigation.
The detective indicated that the shooting occurred during a time where there were several shootings in the area with rival gangs and they believe that young Bijan was a victim of mistaken identity.
Such random acts of violence that continue to plague the Black community does not diminish the number of people who are impacted by the tragedy and the Shoushtari family was not just a pillar of their church, but a model for any American family.
Bijan’s mother Marsha was engulfed in emotion and struggled with any words she had for the suspect or suspects of the crime.
“We look forward to that day when those murderers are caught. I don’t know how someone could commit such a heinous crime and walk around two or three and half months later and not say anything,” Marsha explained.
“Does it pull on your heart, like it pulls on our heart,” she asked. Then she broke down in tears pleading, “Does it make you angry? Don’t you see the lives that you have destroyed? Bijan had dreams and he had goals, he was going places!”
As family supporters such as Bijan’s elementary school principal Gary Garcia pondered the tremendous loss, others such as Alexandra Crayton, Michael Feldmar, Jones, Pamela Norris, Destiny Robinson, David Walters, Dr. Jerelene Wells, Wil Lopez, Laura Cohen, Stacy Daugherty, Myrtke Withers, Aisha Withers, Sylvia Jones and Matthew Jones silently pleaded for help.
“We want you to help capture the person or persons responsible for cutting my son’s life short. He had a vision and a goal. Help us! Help yourself!” Marsha cried.
Anyone who may have information about the murder of Bijan Shousshtari are urged to contact Det. P. Funcello or Det. M Courtney of Criminal gang Homicide Division at (213) 485-1385 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 pm ro call the 24-hour toll free line 877-LAPD-247 to text the word LAPD your message to Crimes (274637). Tips can be anonymous.