A $50,000 reward was announced Thursday for any information about the tragic death of a 23-year-old youth pastor and singer who was shot and killed in Venice Beach.
Oscar Duncan, whose nickname as a singer was 'Choir Boy,' was fatally shot in his upper body Monday by four men as he was standing on the street in front of his mother's house. Investigators believe the attackers were jeering at Duncan's girlfriend before firing the single shot. Duncan and his girlfriend had just gotten home from Bible study, KTLA reports.
Despite having grown up in Oakwood, an area that has been a hub of gang activity in Venice, Duncan was never in a gang and had no criminal record, police say. In fact, he was a youth minister at the Greater Zion Church Family in Compton and a mentor at the Boys & Girls Club in Venice. He had been a member of the club since he was six, was named "Youth of the Year" in 2006, and was about to become a full-time member of the staff. He was also homecoming king and a football captain at Venice High School, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Erikk Aldridge, director of the Venice Boys and Girls Club, told The Huffington Post, "He's always had two feet firmly planted in goodness. And he was by far one of the most influential individuals here." Aldridge confirmed that Duncan had no gang connection. "He didn't even had tattoos," Aldridge said.
Aldridge explained that Duncan did work in a gang prevention program at the club with youth who were not in gangs but could be at-risk. But he did not work with current gang members, Aldridge said.
Even though Duncan grew up among gangs, he chose the church instead, as is reflected on his Twitter page. "He was like a breath of fresh air," Jumond Norman, Duncan's cousin, said to Patch. "He grew up with a lot of negativity around him and disassociated himself with it and encouraged others to do the same."
"It's easy for myself, an executive director, to talk to young people about the perils of a gang lifestyle. But Oscar was 23 years old and lived and grew up in the community so his impact and example was powerful," Aldridge told HuffPost.
Los Angeles Police Department Officer Bruce Borihanh told the Huffington Post that investigators contacted Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Venice, and requested a reward for information be offered to the public. LA City Council voted to approved the $50,000 reward, which Councilman Rosendahl and the LAPD announced at a press conference Thursday.
Anyone with information is urged to contact West Bureau homicide detectives at 213-382-9470.
Click through photos of Duncan from his Myspace: