2011 Pulitzer Prize - Feature Photography

Sixteen years. Not long enough. Not long enough for Melody Ross to get her driver's license. Nor to maneuver the perils and promise of high school, much less college. Melody was gunned down in front of her beloved Wilson High School in Long Beach after she and friends left the homecoming football game. An alleged gang member fired into a crowd. Within seconds Ross' charming smile was stilled, 16 years and a month after her birth. That could have been the end of it. But the grief of family and close friends rippled outward, touching lives far from the streets of Long Beach. Melody was the daughter of a couple who escaped the killing fields of Cambodia in the 1980's They wanted to come to America to give their children a safer environment. In this photo, students, facility, family and friends attend a candle light vigil at Wilson High School.
Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times
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