Man, Slain While Walking With Son, Described as ‘Good Father’


Arthur Jensen Jr., 15, stands before a little shrine of flowers and candles on the street where his father, Arthur Jensen Sr., 32, lay less than a day ago. Beefy, tattooed homeboys from the neighborhood pat him on the shoulder, praise his father and tell him to keep his chin up.

Every few minutes someone relights candles blown out by the wind.

The Jensens were walking to El Buen Gusto Market and Bakery, at 565 S. Kalisher St., Sunday evening when two unidentified men drove up alongside them. The men started arguing with Jensen Sr., then the passenger got out of the car and began fighting with him.

The driver got out and fought with Jensen Jr.

Father and son fought side-by-side until one of the men drew a gun and pointed it at the Jensens, who fled in opposite directions.


Arthur said he heard three shots, but believes his father was hit only twice. His father ran into the street where he was struck by a passing car, but a spokesman for the coroner’s office said Jensen died from gunshot wounds, not from the impact of the car.

Other residents of the predominantly Latino neighborhood describe Jensen Sr. as a veterano--a mature man who belonged to a gang in his youth--who had left his old neighborhood and gang habits behind for family life and 12-hour days as a machinist in Valencia.

One of Jensen Sr.’s old friends, a broad-chested, tattooed veterano who calls himself “T.,” strides into the street and splatters a libation of Miller Lite onto the street.

“That’s to the homey,” he says.

T. says he is angry that younger gang members no longer respect the older generation of gang members--even when they have “retired.”

“He finally wants to straighten out his life and then this happens,” T. complains.

“He had his life together, he had kids, he wasn’t a bum, he wasn’t on welfare, he wasn’t in that cycle of incarceration--all these adverse conditions out here and he got out. This was a fluke.”

Sheriff’s detectives seem to agree.

“This appears to be another tragic ending to an otherwise innocuous contact,” says Sheriff’s Det. Martin L. Rodriguez as he inspects the scene. Rodriguez says the Jensens probably did not know their assailants, because Jensen Sr. did not even live in San Fernando.


There are no suspects, he says.

“He was a good father,” said Arthur. “I didn’t spend my life with him--until the last two months--but we had some good times.”

He and his father had plans.

Arthur lived all his life with his mother, who was not married to Jensen Sr. His father, whose parents still lived nearby, came from Valencia--where he had a family--almost every week to visit his parents and check on his son.

Two months ago, the teenager told his mother he wanted to live with his father and step-siblings in Valencia. His father did not have enough room for the boy and three other children, but began looking for a larger home to accommodate his oldest son.

Jensen Sr. also started to build, with his son’s help, an addition to his parents’ house on Hollister Street so Arthur could move out of his mother’s house.

In the meantime, father and son decided to catch up on lost time and work on their neglected relationship. The day before the shooting, the pair had returned from Magic Mountain. Arthur said they were also looking around for an old car they could fix up together, so he could drive it when he turned 16.

That is all over now. After the coroner had removed his father’s body, Arthur and his uncle spent all night washing blood from the street. But the tall, thin youth with three hoop earrings, sagging jeans and a buzz-cut hairstyle, is trying not to be bitter.


“I’m not into that revenge thing,” he said. “All that is going to cause is nothing--I’m not going to bring all that down on my family.”