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Changed ex-gang member shot, killed by tagger

February 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The search is on for a tagger who shot and killed an anti-gang activist in the middle of a busy street. The victim is a former gang member who managed to turn his life around.Roland Barron is described by friends and family as a man who worked for peace, a man who was doing his part to rid this neighborhood of gangs.

And police say that Sunday night, he tried to stop someone from tagging a dumpster, and that cost Ronald his life.

Amidst the candles and flowers, there was also a sense of anger and frustration on the corner of Pico and Sycamore Monday night.

"When I came out, he was shot in the street, and we tried to bring him back. We tried to give him CPR and everything, but it just wasn't enough," said Tommy Rivers, Barron's friend.

Rivers was at the scene Sunday night and watched as his friend Ronald was shot dead by a suspected gang member.

"He was out here trying to do the right thing and trying to something positive, and some idiot didn't want to be a part of that and took his life too soon," said Rivers.

It happened at about 10 p.m. Police say the 40-year-old Barron was trying to stop a man from tagging a dumpster.

Investigators say a confrontation turned to murder when the tagger shot Barron several times, then calmly walked away and disappeared in the surrounding neighborhood.

"Right now, what we have to work with is the reality that a man lost his life trying to make something right, and that's not right," said Eddie Jones, a community activist.

Friends and family say Barron was a former gang member who had spent the past several years trying to end gang violence.

Community and civil rights leaders demanded justice, but some of Barron's oldest friends say that candles and prayers aren't enough.

"Somebody's got to get up and say something. We can't just have a vigil and then have everyone clap and just get up and leave. It's over with, then it'll happen again, and we'll be doing the same thing over again," said Shawn Slaughter Diamond, Barron's friend.

The shooting occurred on a very busy street, and there were many witnesses present. Police only have a vague description of the suspect. They say the shooter is a Hispanic man, 20 to 25 years old, with short, dark hair and stands about 6 feet tall with a thin build.

Anyone with information about this murder is urged to call the LAPD at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or 1-877-527-3247.