Family asks for public's help finding killer

COMPTON, Calif. The victim's father, Anthony Owens spoke about his son at a news conference Thursday. "He was an asset in his short life and he would've been an asset if he had continued."

Michael Owens was walking home from school in Compton on the afternoon of January 26, 2009. The 19-year old was approached by a group of gang members driving a dark green car, possibly a Buick Regal. Investigators believe that the group mistook Owens for a rival gang member and shot him several times in the back.

"Our investigators got there, they found out what had occurred and they quickly determined that this was a retaliation shooting for a gang war," said Lt. Don Slawson, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "Michael wasn't a gang member. He was a student coming home from school. Fact of the matter is Michael had never even been contacted by law enforcement, arrested, talked to, stopped or anything."

Anthony Owens is a former reservist who has served four tours of duty in Iraq. He said his son had hoped to join the U.S. Marines and one day become a sheriff's deputy.

The family pleaded with the public to come forward with any information. Investigators are hoping that someone out there knows something or saw something on that day. They ask anyone with information to call 1-800-222-TIPS, or 1-800-222-8477.

Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.