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Suspect sought in shooting of Riverside teen

February 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A 14-year-old boy is reportedly on life support after being shot in front of his Riverside home Thursday night.

Zion Shephard, 14, says the victim, Larenz Simmons, was like a brother to her.

"Right now, my heart is heavy with grief," Shepard said.

Simmons was in his front yard on Georgia Street Thursday night around 6 p.m. when a car pulled up, an unknown man got out, pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Simmons' grandmother was too distraught to speak on camera, but Shepard said she was inside the house when it happened.

"And they heard about five or six gunshots, and that's when they came out and they saw the mohawk, that's how they knew it was Larenz," Shepard said.

Simmons was a freshman at Riverside Poly High School, which had about a dozen grief counselors on campus Friday. According to the principal, he was well-known and well-liked.

"He always put a smile on everyone's face, just with his smile, with his personality. Everyone knew him, he touched everyone's heart," said friend Fernando Martinez.

Simmons was in the junior ROTC program at Poly High. People say it was one of his dreams to go into the armed forces.

Shephard said at the hospital Thursday night, she whispered a promise into Simmons' ear.

"Yesterday I made a promise to him, I said, 'I'm gonna go into the military for you,'" she said.

Very few witnesses to the shooting have come forward. The only description police have of the shooter is that he was a passenger in a tan-colored sedan. A motive has not been determined, although police say there were no gang-related ties to the shooting.

Anyone with information is urged to Riverside Police at (951) 353-7105.