Father gunned down in Compton; police believe its case of mistaken identity

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A man was shot to death in his garage while watching television and waiting for his son to come home in Compton early Friday. Authorities believe it was a case of mistaken identity.

The shooting happened around 12:16 a.m. in the 15600 block of South Visalia Avenue. Authorities said the victim, identified as 42-year-old Derrick Lamont Sinclair, was in his garage watching TV to make sure his son came home safely from work.

While Sinclair was watching TV, a male suspect entered the garage and confronted Sinclair. The suspect accused the victim of being a local gang member and shot him, authorities said. The suspect then fled the scene, closing the garage door behind him.

"I heard two gunshots. Two. Two gunshots that killed my dad," Sinclair's daughter Mykayla said. "It was the wrong guy. This dude asked him if he was somebody else. My daddy told him no."

Mykayla said she and other family members opened up the garage and found her father. Sinclair was still conscious and able to describe the man who shot him several times.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said they are searching for a suspect they believe is a gang member.

"They just came in and destroyed a whole family. That's what they did," aunt Cynthia Gilmore said.

Sinclair's family said they know it sounds trite and often heard in these situations, but the father of five was a good man who worked with his wife. They said he wasn't involved in gangs and doted on his children.

"He was a good kid. He didn't bother nobody. He was a good hardworking kid," uncle Keith Sinclair said.

This isn't the first time the family has suffered a tragedy. Gilmore lost her son, Sinclair's cousin, in 1998 to gun violence.

Anyone with more information was urged to call the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
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