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Asphalt, Traffic, and Grief

May 14, 2007 |  4:56 pm

Pickering_carl_martin_jr_2Minutes after the shooting, a young woman in white stood weeping a few yards from where a bullet had pierced Carl Pickering's chest. "I hope he's all right," she said. Near her, another woman in a blue tank top was answering the questions of a police officer who was chewing gum and scribbling notes. The woman in blue kept glancing around wildly, and clasping and unclasping her hands. "Oh my God, oh my God," she said to no one in particular.

A car pulled up and a teenage girl got out. Family members turned toward her. The girl was shaking her head. Pickering had just been pronounced dead at the hospital. "He gone!" cried the young woman in white. She stumbled into the street, bent double, covered her face, and screamed. Passing cars edged around her and kept going. The woman in blue stayed on the sidewalk alone. "They killed my baby!" she said. Across the street, a crowd of people, including several teenagers about 13 or 14 years old, watched the scene impassively. Verchers

120thandcentral3_2 (Above, a boy passing on his bicycle stops to ask LAPD Capt. Rick Jacobs what happened. In this photo, the boys' face registers his response as Jacobs explains that a man has just been shot and killed in the parking lot. "It's horrible," the boy said.)