Clifton Hibbert Jr., 22, and his friend Kenneth Patterson, 23, were gunned down in South Los Angeles Friday night after 2 a.m. What makes this hit home for me is that Clifton Hibbert Jr. was a Jamaican immigrant whose parents came here to help better their lives. He did well at Santa Monica High School and won a scholarship to Cal State Northridge. At 22, he was only a few weeks away from graduation. He aspired to become a lawyer.”He was a person with integrity,” said his mother, Donna Brown. “He was compassionate. He loved his family. He was focused on his future,”much like many West Indians who come to America. It is a part of our culture to put a solid education first and foremost. I am saddened by his passing, not just because of his roots, but because decent and promising young brothers were gunned down once again.

A police source said they may have been victims of a robbery-related homicide; an investigation is underway. “Somebody knows what happened out there,” said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith. “Right now it is a mystery to us.”Hibbert’s father, mother and sister said in interviews that he had never been involved with gangs or gotten into trouble. Much like athlete Jamiel Shaw Jr., who was recently gunned down close to his home. Hibbert worked part-time as a shoe salesman at the Puma Store on the Third Street Promenade, and on weekends he helped with deliveries and accounts at his father’s ice-carving business, said Clifton Hibbert Sr., a chef at the LAX Hilton. Brown, who said she is on disability with breast cancer, said her son had come home from his job on Friday evening, kissed her and said, “I love you; see you later,” before leaving. Hibbert had told his girlfriend, a registered nurse who was working that evening, that he and his friends were going to a party in Northridge, according to his sister, Ayanna Brown.

His sister said one of Hibbert’s friends had bought a new BMW, and the four youths decided to carpool to the party. Brown said her brother had worked with at-risk children during his first years in college. “He was a young, beautiful person who had a vision,” she said. “And he was robbed of his life. My brother gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. We gave him so much love.”According to Melvon George, a friend of the family and a student at Cal State Northridge, Hibbert had been taking a black studies course. “Only two weeks ago, we had a discussion about gangs and how they were destroying the black community,” George said.

It is a shame that these gangs continue to be a scourge in our society and it does not seem as though this activity will abate in the very near future, unless drastic measures are taken. Seems almost hypocritical to me that we can be engaged in the war on terror in Iraq, in which we are spending billions every week, and ignore the war on terror in America that these gangs are inflicting on our communities. It seems to me that more can be done to stem this tide of hatred and gun violence that is plaguing many cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and many others. How many lives will it take for the powers that be to realize that something drastic has to be done and with great expediency. Just my thoughts, you be the judge….