Antwan Cole, 19, "loved people," said his grandmother, Everlean Cole.
The grandmother, 67, recalled the day he tried to assist a homeless woman on his way home. The woman was struggling with a shopping cart, and her grandson tried to help. But the woman refused and nearly hit him, Everlean said. Two police officers pulled over to investigate. He told them he was just trying to help. "I said, 'Baby, sometimes you just can't help some strangers," Everlean Cole said. She said Antwan's response was: "'I know. But, Granny, she was struggling so hard.'"
Antwan Cole was shot at about 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb 8. He had just finished his shift as a security guard at the Unocal 76 facility off Broadway and 135th in Athens, and was waiting at a bus stop nearby. He had been taking the bus since losing his driver's license due to parking tickets, his grandmother said. As he waited, he chatted on his cellphone with his 18-year-old cousin. He told his cousin a car had passed him and was turning around. The call ended shortly after.
Paramedics transported Antwan to a local hospital, where he later died a few minutes after midnight.
Antwan was one of five children. His grandmother took custody of him when he was 6 years old. He had graduated from Westchester Senior High School, where he played football until he ruptured his rotator cuff. He was enrolled in English at L.A. Trade Tech and wanted to become a sports commentator, his grandmother said.
He loved sports, she said. "He could tell you everything from high school, to college, to professionals; all of it," she said. He was a loyal Lakers fan. Everlean Cole recalled telling him she thought Kobe Bryant hogged the ball too much. Antwan wouldn't hear anything against him. "You've got to give Kobe time, Granny; he's just a good player," her grandson would say. He tried to get his cousin, Trevalle Cole, 12, into playing football. He and Trevalle would do push-ups, sit-ups, and lift weights together. Friends said he liked to debate a range of topics. "I'll miss our debates," a friend wrote on his memorial poster.
A few years ago, Antwan Cole had been shot at, but survived, his grandmother said. He and a friend had stopped at Burger King on their way to work. Inside the restaurant a group of young men kept staring at them. At the intersection of 108th Street and Western Avenue, nearby, the same group of men pulled up next to them and began shooting, she said. Cole gunned his car, pulled over, and ran with his friend. Neither of them were hit.
At a vigil at the bus stop on Tuesday, Feb. 12, a woman from across the street walked over to offer condolences. She told Everlean Cole she had been there the night of the shooting. Antwan had kept saying,"oh no, not again," she said.
At his funeral, people packed the Simpson's Family Mortuary in Inglewood. Several stood behind the white double doors, a few peeked through a diamond glass panel to get a glimpse of the service inside. Those who couldn't get in waited on the steps of the church. As people lined up to view Cole's body, several broke down. Others waited until they got outside and screamed. A few struggled to breathe from crying as they walked down the stairs of the church and into the parking lot.
"They destroyed a beautiful life," Everlean said. Her grandson, she said, "was going places."
A bonfire was held at Dockweiler beach Saturday, Feb. 16, to celebrate Cole's 20th Birthday. Family and classmates from Westchester and L.A. Trade Tech attended the event.
Top to bottom: Antwan Cole. Trevalle's memory of Antwan. Coles memorial shrine. More farewells.