How to Help Those Affected by SoCal Brush Fires

Family, LAPD Pleads for Help Amid Intensified Efforts to Find Man Who Killed Teen in Front of Her Mom

Months after a 15-year-old girl was gunned down in front of her mother in South Los Angeles, police and family members spoke out Friday as they renewed calls to the community to help detectives catch her killer.

"We have seen a number of senseless murders in this community. But none more so than this one, where you have a 15-year-old girl in the company of her mother, shot and killed for no reason," Los Angele Police Department Capt. Peter Whittingham said of Hannah Bell's killing.

Whittingham was among law enforcement personnel and relatives who spoke at a news conference Friday morning, reminding the public of a $50,000 reward that has been offered in the case for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect.

On the night of April 27, Bell was waiting with her mother to get food at the Best Burger restaurant located at Western Avenue and 78th Street when a gunman approached the two and -- without saying a word -- fired four to five shots, striking the teen, according to LAPD.

Her mother, Samantha Mays, held Bell in her arms as the teen was transported by ambulance. She later died at a hospital.

Bell had just celebrated her 15th birthday eight days prior.

"She had her whole life ahead of her," Mays said at the news conference, breaking down into tears.

LAPD Deputy Chief Dennis Kato cited the victim's age as among the reasons police decided to renew calls for information.

"All our victims of homicide are important. But this one especially gnaws at us and our detectives and the family because of the age of Hannah Bell," Kato said.

Police had previously announced the $50,000 reward on April 30, where emotional family members pleaded with the public for information about the homicide.

Mays was among those who asked for help back then, and she issued another desperate plea Friday.

“I want to ask the community out here to come forth and tell the information that you know," Mays said. “Tell the police officers, because my baby was innocent.”

She noted her daughter was not a gang member, nor did she have any affiliation with one -- something police confirmed.

“My baby was a beautiful soul," Mays said. "I miss her daily, I miss her so much.”

The person who comes forward with the information would be a "hero" to the family, she added.

“I want to right this wrong. That’s the only way I’m going to come to peace. Till then I’m always going to be tormented in my soul," she said.

Mays also issued a plea to the shooter, saying he should turn himself in if he has a conscience.

“If the young man that’s out there who did this got a conscience and you feel something inside you because you know you messed up … come forth. Take your punishment," she said.

Police didn't have a detailed description of the shooter, describing him only as a black man in his early 20s. He was wearing a black hooded-sweatshirt and white T-shirt at the time.

Investigators are still in the process of reviewing area surveillance footage.

The motive for the shooting also remains unknown.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD at 323-786-5113. Those who would like to provide a tip anonymously can do so via Crime Stoppers by dialing 1-877-222-8477 or by going to lapdonline.org and clicking on "Anonymous Web Tips."