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Two L.A. homicides, two very different reward offers

April 16, 2012|By Karin Klein
  • Fredrick Martin Jr. and his son Fredrick "Tre" Martin III, 8.
Fredrick Martin Jr. and his son Fredrick "Tre" Martin III, 8. (Family photo / Associated…)

It's hard not to be struck by the similarities in, and the differences between, two recent local killings.

A young father was gunned down while cleaning his garage in Inglewood, for reasons not totally clear, though speculation is that he was mistakenly targeted by gang members. He quickly moved to shield his 8-year-old son, who was spared.

Two USC students were killed while in their car for reasons not totally clear, though robbery is suspected as a motive.

Both occurred in areas where daily safety is not a certain thing. Both targeted people who had gone to great lengths to seek an education. The two USC students were known as hardworking young people from China. The Inglewood father, Frederick Martin Jr., had overcome the challenges of growing up in a crime-plagued neighborhood to go on to a college degree. Both were members of tight-knit communities -- in Martin's case, his family; for Ming Qu and Ying Wu, their fellow engineering students from China. The victims in both L.A. and Inglewood were apparently just going about their daily lives in total innocence.

Police are looking for suspects in both cases, aided by rewards for information. But here there's a wide difference between the two. Martin's family is offering $10,000. USC is funding a reward pot of $125,000.

It's not a matter of unfairness or lack of caring. It's just a question of who has ties to people or groups with money. Martin has a family that cares desperately but isn't endowed with wealth. USC naturally wants to do what it can for students when tragedy strikes.

In both cases, people are doing the right thing. But it's nonetheless a matter for society to ponder when the family of a young man widely known as a thoroughly good person, devoted father and friendly neighbor has no access to the financially supported outrage of a wider community.

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