Wilson High School students, staff, and some of the family members and friends of slain 16-year-old Melody Ross gathered Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil.
With Melody's parents listening in, clutching a picture of their daughter, the Long Beach Police Department made a huge announcement: Two young reputed gang members had been arrested in connection with the honor student's murder.
"These suspects who have been arrested are both juveniles," said Long Beach Police Deputy Chief Bill Blair. "I am unable to release their names to you by law. I will tell you, however, that they are a 16-year-old male of Long Beach and a 16-year-old male from the city of Bellflower. By all accounts Melody was an innocent bystander, not the intended victim, no gang involvement."
"She promised her mom that she wanted to be somebody to help her mom back," said Chanthy Che, Melody's uncle. "She told her mom that she wanted go to Stanford. If she can't make it there, she'll go to USC."
Melody was shot and killed last Friday at about 10 p.m., right after Wilson High's homecoming football game against Long Beach Polytechnic High School had just finished. Ross was with friends when, according to police and eyewitnesses, approximately four shots rang out.
Police say rival gang members got into a confrontation. Ross was shot and died later at a nearby hospital. Two young men, ages 18 and 20, were wounded.
On the Wilson campus Thursday, students said the mood was grim, even with the news that arrests had been made.
"It's not going to change, that's not going to change anything," said student Charles Hancock. "She's dead. God bless her."
"It's not really going to change nothing 'cause you know she's not there anymore," said student Gonzalo Gonzales. "She's gone, she's gone."