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Friends Mourn ‘Beautiful Person’ and Protective Mother : Crime: Slain pregnant woman was sole provider for 6-year-old and was trying diligently to find a secretarial job. She and her fetus were killed a day before its birth.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 27-year-old woman shot dead the day before she was to give birth to her second child was an out-of-work secretary struggling to raise a son and looking for a job, friends and neighbors said Tuesday.

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The woman, whose name was withheld by police pending notification of family, was planning to give birth by Cesarean section Tuesday, friends said.

Instead, police were searching for her killer, and saddened neighbors were placing flowers at the edge of the sidewalk outside her apartment near the intersection of West Crescent Avenue and Ventura Street. That’s where the woman died early Monday after being shot several times in the abdomen and head. Her 6-year-old son was asleep in the first-floor apartment at the time.

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“She was a beautiful person,” said a friend who spoke of the woman’s tireless efforts to find work and tend to her son. “She struggled a lot to support her son. Her last four months, all you ever saw was her taking buses to her doctor” or seeking work as an executive secretary.

“She was really protective over her son,” said William Reed, a 14-year-old neighbor whose mother befriended the woman.

Police have made no arrests and declined to say if they had a suspect.

“I have people going out in all directions,” said Police Lt. Vince Howard.

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Howard said the woman was thought to have been from Trinidad, but did not know how long she had lived in Southern California. Howard said authorities were having trouble locating her next of kin.

Neighbors said the woman moved with her son from two blocks away last month after being evicted from her previous apartment because she was unable to pay rent.

A friend who spoke on condition of anonymity said the woman was divorced from the boy’s father. She was pregnant with the child of a boyfriend she met a year ago, the friend said.

“She was happy” about the impending birth, the friend said.

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Authorities said courts have ruled the death of a fetus can be considered a homicide if it could have survived outside the womb.

The slaying spread fear over the neighborhood, where residents say the sound of gunfire is not uncommon. Two of the slain woman’s friends said they spent Monday night elsewhere, fearful the killer might return. Some friends would not allow their names to be used, and other neighbors said they were considering moving.

“I think I’m going to give notice to move at the first of the month,” said Connie Lynd, who lives on the second floor in the same building as the victim. “I’m very scared.”


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