Supervisors Renew Reward in Long Beach Shooting

Los Angeles County supervisors extended a $10,000 reward to encourage witnesses to step forward in the fatal July 23 Long Beach shooting.

County supervisors have renewed a $10,000 reward to encourage witnesses of a fatal Long Beach shooting last year to come forward. The L.A. County board also offered an unrelated $10,000 reward for information leading to a gunman who fired shots into a Fourth of July crowd in Westmont, killing a teenage girl.

The board approved the extension of a $10,000 reward for information that helps solve the slaying of 50-year-old Seaborn Mason, who was shot shortly before midnight last July 23 while standing in front of a convenience store in the 400 block of East South Street in Long Beach.

There were several people in the area and none of them reported hearing an argument or seeing an altercation before hearing several shots fired, according to Supervisor Don Knabe, who recommended extending the reward for another 90 days.

Anyone with information was asked to call Long Beach police Detectives Malcolm Evans or Todd Johnson at 562-570-7247.

In the Fourth of July case, 14-year-old Unique Russell and her cousins were watching fireworks in front of 1346 West 97th Street in unincorporated Westmont when two gunmen fired several shots into the crowd. The girl was fatally wounded and 12-year-old Rekell Reeves and 25-year-old Freddy Pickett were also shot but survived.

The Board of Supervisors first offered a $10,000 reward in the case last July. Based on witness information, alleged gang member Michael Staton, 20, was arrested Dec. 14 and charged with Unique's murder and two counts of attempted murder.

A special circumstance allegation that the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang could result in the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if Staton is convicted. He is being held in lieu of $4 million bail.

"Thanks to members of the community who spoke up, one suspect is behind bars and off the streets," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who recommended the reward.

The other unidentified suspect remains at large, according to Ridley-Thomas, who proposed the additional $10,000 reward for information leading to the gunman's arrest.

"We are calling on the community to once again come forward to help bring justice to the friends and family members who have lost their loved one in this senseless crime,'' the supervisor said.

In an emotional news conference two days after the shooting, Unique's mother, Donna Wade, begged witnesses to come forward.

"We have a code around here — nobody say anything — and because of that our kids are dying," Wade said. "So, how many of our kids have to die to uphold a war? A war that doesn't exist. It's in our minds ... There's casualties on both sides and nobody's going to win."

Anyone with information was asked to call sheriff's Sgt. Kenneth Perry
or Detective Gary Sloan at the Homicide Bureau, 323-890-5500 or Crime
Stoppers at 800-222-8477.


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