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Community News: Eastside

CYPRESS PARK : Residents Lobby for Park Memorial

October 18, 1992|MARY ANNE PEREZ

Residents have gathered 1,200 signatures and collected $3,500 to place a memorial plaque for slain activist Jay Jimenez at the Cypress Park Recreation Center.

Jimenez, 32, was killed in July in a hail of bullets that injured two others on Romulo Street, north of the park where he and his teammates had just finished a baseball game.

The former Cypress Park gang member decided 15 years ago to stop gangbanging and help others get out of gangs after he had survived six shooting incidents, said longtime friend Art Pulido.

Pulido has asked the Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners to allow the residents to mount the plaque in the recreation center's gymnasium. The request may be considered when the board meets Monday.

"Jay was the type of guy who looked at this park like a man looks at his back yard," Pulido said. "He'd come and check everything out and see if everything was all right."

Jimenez helped the community close off Avenue 27 to stop drive-by shootings at the park, appealed for more stop signs near Aragon Avenue Elementary School and helped prevent buses from traveling on Pepper Street after residents complained that the vehicles shook their homes, Pulido said. Jimenez also coached Little League and Pee-Wee League for 10 years at the park.

After Jimenez was wounded in the head and leg in a 1977 shooting that killed a friend, he and Pulido founded CLEVER, a grass-roots organization that aims to stop gang violence.

Daniel Rodriguez, a former Cypress Park resident and CLEVER member, said: "Jay showed success by example. He hung out with the worst and then turned his life to the best."

Pulido asserted that 10 people from other neighborhoods have been killed in incidents in retaliation for Jimenez's death, but Officer Raymond Rangel of the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Division could not confirm that claim. No arrests have been made in the case, police said.

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