Activist Denise Harlins Who Fought Gun Violence After L.A. Riots Dies

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Denise Harlins, pictured in 1995. (Credit: Los Angeles times)

Denise Harlins, pictured in 1995. (Credit: Los Angeles times)

Denise Harlins, who became an activist after her 15-year-old niece was fatally shot in the lead up to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, died Tuesday.

Her death from congestive heart failure was announced by Najee Ali, an L.A. community activist. Her family is planning a candlelight vigil in her memory at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Leimert Park Village.

Harlins’ niece, Latasha Harlins, was killed two weeks after the beating of Rodney King. A Korean-born shopkeeper shot the girl in the back of the head in a dispute over a bottle of orange juice.

The two racially charged incidents sparked outrage in Los Angeles that eventually boiled over into the 1992 L.A. riots. Some rioters invoked the teenager’s name as they torched buildings in South L.A.

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