As a child, Michael Lynn Presley II knew the path to his father's gravesite by heart. His mother brought him there each week. "Go find Daddy!" she would say, and the excited toddler would run into the graveyard and select his father's headstone from the others without hesitation.
Presley never knew his father in life: The elder Michael Lynn Presley, below left, was shot to death on June 23, 1987 in Los Angeles at the age of 27. Now, Michael Lynn Presley II has followed him. The younger Presley, 19, was murdered on July 15 of this year in the 4500 block of West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Southwest Los Angeles.
Anyone who reads this page regularly has noticed homicides piling up in minority enclaves south of the 10 Freeway, while other areas are left nearly completely untouched. Blacks, particularly, suffer homicide with brutal frequency, and the Presley's story is a vivid example of one consequence: Some families must endure more than one murder.
Presley was in the street talking to a young woman, whose mother was nearby in a parked car, leaning on the steering wheel, the family said. The suspects, two black men and a light-skinned black or Latino man in a dark compact car, drove up. Two of them got out and shot Presley. Presley's friends tried to take him to the hospital, but made it only a short distance before paramedics met them and took over.
Presley's mother got there in time to see her son for a moment before they took him away. He was on a gurney, barely conscious. He died later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Presley had graduated from Daniel Murphy Catholic High School, and was a full-time Cal State Northridge student majoring in criminal justice and psychology who also held down a job at the Target store in Northridge. He was tall like his father --6-foot-4 -- with braided hair, and proud of the car he had recently bought with his earnings. He wanted to be an attorney.
"Like history repeating," the mother said last week, after burying her son on top of his father in the same grave he used to visit as a child. When her husband was murdered, she had her pregnancy, and then her son, to command her attention. This time, with her son murdered, she has no toddler to take to the gravesite, and it is more difficult, she said.
Southwest Dets. Rick Gorden and Vince Carreon seek any information from the public on this case. They can be reached at (213)485-2417.