Like his brother James, Emanuel Michael Lofton Jr. was quite a football player.
According to their father, Emanuel Sr., Emanuel Jr. was an outstanding defensive back at Washington High School in Los Angeles, back in the 1960s. James was just a "baby" then.
James Lofton grew up fast and went on to graduate from Stanford, where he was a three-time all-American in track. Today he is a star; one of the most highly regarded players in the National Football League, playing wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers.
Emanuel Lofton Jr. went on to play a little football at Los Angeles Harbor College before dropping out, according to his father.
"After that, he did a few odd jobs," Emanuel Sr. said. "And after a while, he didn't work at all. He's just been drifting around, hanging around the park."
Monday morning, a few minutes before 8, passers-by found Emanuel Jr.'s body sprawled on a picnic bench at that park--St. Andrews Recreational Center--a little swatch of green in southwestern Los Angeles, a few blocks from the Inglewood city limits.
Emanuel Sr., who was called down to identify the body, said his 37-year-old son appeared to have been shot in the head.
Detectives were called to the scene to see whether Emanuel Lofton Jr.'s death may be linked to nine other street killings in which men--five of them transients--were shot to death in the city during the early morning hours.
The detectives were also investigating whether there were links to the death of another man--this one unidentified--whose decomposed body was found Monday in bushes beside the Pasadena Freeway near Dodger Stadium.