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Michael Jackson: Mourning at Jackson family compound

June 25, 2009 |  5:02 pm

About a dozen people are gathered outside a large black wrought-iron gate of the Jackson family home in Encino, anxiously waiting for Michael Jackson's family to emerge.

Cars drive down the two-lane small street, some slowing down to see what the commotion is about. A man in a black Jaguar drives by and yells "Is Michael home?" Other drivers honk their horns and  another driver rolls by blasting Jackson's music.

Cameras are positioned and ready on tripods and a TV reporter stands waiting under a black umbrella for shade.

Two 13-year-old boys are walking down the street to get dinner. Shayan Missaghi, who lives about a block away, said that although he's lived in the neighborhood all his life, he's never had contact with the family. After hearing about Jackson's death, the two boys looked at each other in surprise.

"It's sad," said Kevin Mehdizadeh. Missaghi said the same.

Diana Michelson who's lived in the neighborhood for 33 years, and has waved to Jackson's family in passing, said Jackson's death is a shock.

"I'm just stunned," she said. "I didn't think he was sick because he was getting ready to perform." She walked down to the house about a block to see if the media had gathered outside, as they have in the past. "This street's going to be bumper to bumper," she said.

Helene Arthur had to dodge people while trying to enter the gate to her house, right next door to the Jackson residence, where she has lived since 1965. She burst into tears at the news of Jackson's death.

"He used to play over here in my house," she said.

She said her children would invite fans into her house to get a better glimpse of the Jackson residence.

"They'd come tromping through," she said.

Five police officers were blocking the gate to the Jackson house this afternoon.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Encino