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8-year-old Pomona homicide victim was an adoptee from Taiwan

Jonah Min Hwang
Jonah Min Hwang, 8, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Pomona on Feb. 20.
(Sandi Hwang Adam)

Jonah Min Hwang, the 8-year-old who was killed in a Pomona shooting Monday evening, was a playful brother whose family adopted him from Taiwan.

“We welcomed Jonah into our family less than three years ago, after adopting him from an orphanage in Taiwan,” a statement from his family read. “He had an infectious smile and loved everyone and everything: sports, wrestling with his dad, running, laughing, superheroes. … Jonah was a light and joy in our household and we cannot imagine our family without him.”

Jonah Min Hwang.
Jonah Min Hwang.
(Sandi Hwang Adam)

Sandi Hwang Adam, who said Jonah’s parents are her cousins, started a fundraising page to help cover costs of the boy’s funeral. She remembered first meeting Jonah and connecting with him, even though he did not yet know English.

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“He was a boy that was just full of joy. When I first met him, newly adopted from Taiwan, he really didn’t speak English, but his playful nature prevailed and he somehow convinced me to compete against him in a running race (he won),” Adam said in an email.

Jonah’s uncle, Terry Yang, shared his memories of the boy on Facebook.

“He was an energetic boy who got along with everyone he came in contact with, and always seemed to be injuring himself jumping off of something or other,” Yang wrote. “I never did get the chance to teach him to ski, since he sprained his ankle before visiting us this past Christmas.”

“Rest in peace, Jonah,” Yang wrote. “God has you now, and we will forever have a hole in our hearts as a result.”

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Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval told KCBS-TV Channel 2 that the Hwang family volunteers in Pomona. 

“We’re heartbroken,” Sandoval said. “This was a tragic event in our community. It’s a senseless act.”

The shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday at a home in the 1100 block of West 11th Street where the Hwang family was visiting friends for dinner. 

A neighbor, Justin Armijo, said he heard a car pull up outside the house, followed by multiple gunshots before the car drove away.

No one has been arrested, Pomona police Sgt. Bert Sanchez said Wednesday morning. Police spent Tuesday canvassing the neighborhood, and hope that surveillance cameras some neighbors have outside their homes will help identify possible suspects.

Pomona police asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the department at (909) 620-2085. 

Los Angeles Times staff writer Melissa Etehad contributed to this report.

Reach Sonali Kohli at Sonali.Kohli@latimes.com or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.

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