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Man shot dead in front of Inglewood music studio

A woman mourns the untimely death of her 21-year-old son, who police believe was killed by a gang member. No suspects have been named.

October 07, 2009|Anthony Pesce

After her son was shot and killed on Sept. 20, Kathryn Harris was so consumed with grief she did not eat for days.

"My arms and fingers are starting to take on a skeletal appearance," she said. "I can't eat and I can't sleep. And I cry."

Kevin Harris, 21, was sitting in his parked car in front of a music studio in the 3300 block of West 118th Place in Inglewood when he was fatally wounded, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital about 40 minutes after the 8 p.m. shooting.

His mother wept as she described the phone call that came that night from her husband. She spoke of her frantic trip to the studio. "I put some water on my socks and tried to wipe up the blood. I wiped up as much blood as I could," she said. "I got down on my hands and knees and used my hands like they were a broom to sweep up the glass."

Inglewood Police Department officials have described the gunman as a possible gang member. Harris, however, was not involved in gangs and had no criminal history, said Inglewood Police Det. Jose Becerra. Kathryn Harris said police told her they believed the shooting involved a gang member because of the location and manner of her son's killing.

The night her son was killed, Kathryn Harris said, she knew something was wrong. She texted him and called him repeatedly, but there was no response. Then she got the call from his father.

Becerra said no witnesses have come forward and police have not named any suspects. Kathryn Harris said she was told that her son had just pulled up in his dark green 1995 Camaro when the shooting took place.

Kevin Harris, known to friends as Track Bully, learned to play the piano in a music class during his freshman year at St. Bernard Catholic High School, said Jimmique Parsons, his best friend.

Parsons said that the class taught Harris the basics, but that his friend was soon learning to play popular songs by ear. During his sophomore year in high school, Harris downloaded a music program that allowed him to compose, mix and loop basic beats, and from there he was hooked.

At first he would sample and mix songs from popular hip-hop artists, but Parsons said Harris quickly moved to composing his own music, then mixing it and looping it digitally with other instruments.

"He would go into the studio, play around on the piano for an hour or so, then start recording," Parsons said. "It was amazing; he would start from scratch."

Kathryn Harris said her son played on his high school basketball team and regularly went to church. His favorite color was white, she said, and she plans to bury him in a white suit.

After high school graduation, Harris worked a number of odd jobs during the day and spent his nights in the studio, Parsons said. He worked at Urban Outfitters, Vons and eventually at a mattress store while getting paid by the studio to mix tracks for local artists.

Kathryn Harris said she had devoted her life to making sure her son did not fall into the wrong crowd. She sent him to Catholic middle and high schools and read him the Bible.

Over the course of a two-hour phone interview, she sobbed for most of the conversation. She was at the cemetery, having just picked out where she would bury her son.

She recalled a time when he was 2 years old and she took him to a laundromat. She said she gave him a 100-piece puzzle to keep him entertained, and after a short period of time, he told her: "Done, Mommy, done."

"He has no gang ties whatsoever. I raised him preppy," she said. "He wanted people to be happy in general. . . . He saw good in everyone."

She said she was always nervous about the location of his studio and would stay up at night -- sometimes into the early morning -- until she heard him come home safely.

"They tell me God only gives you as much as you can handle," she said. "Well, God must think I'm really strong."

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anthony.pesce@latimes.com

This article is from the Times blog The Homicide Report.

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