The Game raises money for family of boy shot, killed in Mid-City


A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night for Taalib Pecantte, who was shot and killed Monday night as he sat in a car with his mother in the 1900 block of Corning Street in Mid-City.

Taalib's family, his teammates from the Compton Vikings and their coaches gathered to remember the vivacious little boy.

"I think it's wrong for him to just be minding his own business. He was a good football player. It just didn't have to happen," said the victim's teammate, 8-year-old Kylen Bennett.

Pecantte's grieving father, Rich, also spoke out at the vigil.

"I just want the individuals that did this to my son, look who you affected: these babies. You affected all these babies, these are his teammates," said Rich Pecantte.

Morgan Pecantte, the victim's sister, described her brother as a very outgoing boy.

"[He] played games with our other younger sibling and I'll miss him a lot," she said.

As a toddler, Taalib was captured on camera in the arms of then presidential candidate Barack Obama at a Southern California fundraiser. He was an honor student with a promising future.

In a show of support, the 7-year-old's teammates signed the jersey he wore just two weeks ago in their league's "Super Bowl" game.

"He was funny and he was my friend," said 9-year-old Isiah Jackson.

Taalib died a day after gunmen opened fire on the car he was in with his mother and a male friend. As the search continues for the suspects, his father is pleading for an end to the gun violence, saying something has to change.

"I ask all the brothers out there in all those neighborhoods to stand up and link that chain. Let's build, and don't be scared of change. Change is a good thing," said Rich Pecantte.

The father said he plans to keep his son's memory alive out on the field by continuing to serve as a volunteer coach.

Meantime, others are reaching out to the boy's family. When rapper The Game heard about Taalib's death, he knew he had to do something to help. The rapper is the father of three children, ages 10, 6 and 3. He told Eyewitness News that he'd be devastated and wouldn't know where to turn if anything happened to any of them.

He's now helping Taalib's family. The Game started calling friends, asking if they'd like to make $100 contributions to help cover the boy's funeral expenses.

"I was going to do it all myself, but I figured since it was Christmas, I'd bring some of my friends in and that had a snowball effect and by the end of the day, we raised $17,000 between myself, Kevin Hart, Deshawn Jackson from the Philadelphia Eagles, who's a hometown kid, and then a host of my friends," said The Game. "I feel better about giving to people and helping their struggles than I do getting on a stage in front of a crowd of 10,000."

The rapper is trying to help stop gun violence in Los Angeles. In September, The Game helped pay for the funeral of 6-year-old Tiana Ricks, who was shot at a family gathering in Moreno Valley. An admitted gang member is now facing murder charges in that case.

The Game was actually born into gang life in Compton, and he's seen plenty of violence in his 35 years. When it came to raising money for Taalib's family, he asked people with gang connections to help.

"Everybody that I hit just happens to be, you know, from a gang or was from a gang and, I mean, what do you do? You don't donate because you're from a gang? You don't have a heart because you were once from a gang? It's not like that. It's just people reaching out and wanting to help," the rapper said.

The Game is trying to help bring some peace to the streets. You can find his message by searching #CeaseFireLA on Instagram and Twitter. He has now helped out in about a dozen different tragedies, donating a substantial amount of money along the way.

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