A candlelight vigil was held Sunday for a 25-year-old aspiring NBA player who was fatally gunned down Monday in a Willowbrook shooting.
Wearing white as a symbol of peace, friends and relatives of Wendell Dechaun Lee marched from the Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park to the site where the man was killed in the 12200 block of Elva Avenue.
“He had such a big heart,” said his mother, Merry Matthews. “This is just a testament to who we was.”
Lee was a recent graduate of Colorado State University, his family said. He had been set to try out for the Defenders, a Los Angeles Lakers development league team, before his death.
“I think my brother, for sure, could have gone all the way,” said his sibling, London Brown, an actor who appears in the HBO series “Ballers.”
“The people who are out doing these things, someone didn’t reach out to them early enough — to help prevent these things from happening,” Brown said, referring to the people who killed his brother.
Lee was standing on the Elva Avenue about 11:45 p.m. Monday when a four-door vehicle approached, according to sheriff’s detectives.
One of the vehicle’s occupants, a passenger described only as a black man, exited from the driver’s side and and shot Lee, authorities said. The shooter then reentered the vehicle, which fled southbound and out of view.
Investigators said it was unclear whether the incident was gang-related. Lee’s family insisted it was not, adding that he had no gang affiliation.
“We’re just going to try to move forward, the best we can, and bring him along with us,” Brown said.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be made via Crime Stoppers: 800-222-8477.
Correction: An earlier version of this report erroneously described the fatal incident as a drive-by shooting. The post has been updated.