Reward Offer in Fatal Fourth of July Murder of Unique Russell

On Wednesday, July 4, 2012, in front of 1346 West 97th Street, 14-year old Unique Russell was with friends, family members, and neighbors attending an annual block party celebrating the 4th of July holiday. Unique frequently traveled to the unincorporated West Athens community to visit with family members, who are long time residents of the community. At approximately 10:20 p.m., Unique, along with her cousins, 12-year old Rekell Reeves and 25-year old Freddy Pickett, were struck by gunfire as they watched fireworks. Witnesses, who initially believed the gunfire to be the sound of fireworks, observed two individuals stand on the southeast corner of 97th Street and Normandie Avenue and fire several shots into a crowd that included Unique and her cousins. Unique was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where she died from her injuries. The two remaining victims suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds to their legs and were subsequently released.

After striking the victims, the suspects fled the location on foot and traveled south on Normandie Avenue. The suspects are described as two black males, approximately 18 to 25 years of age. At the time of the shooting, one suspect was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt while the other suspect was described as wearing a white t-shirt.

Unique Russell was a rising sophomore at Washington Preparatory High School and is described as an effervescent young woman who loved her family. The shock and senselessness of this tragedy has left Unique’s family and the West Athens community devastated.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) detectives believe that there are witnesses in the neighborhood that may have observed the suspects leave the area. Any individuals with information about this heinous crime are urged to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau or Crime Stoppers. Detectives believe that a reward offer would be helpful in solving this crime, thus bringing some sense of closure and justice to Unique Russell’s family and friends.

On July 10, 2012, the Board of Supervisors approved a reward of $10,000 in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for the death of 14-year old Unique Russell and the injuries sustained by 12-year old Rekell Reeves and 25-year old Freddy Pickett, who were struck by gunfire on July 4, 2012 in front of 1346 West 97th in unincorporated West Athens.

Contact: Sergeant K. Perry or Det. G. Sloan
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Homicide Bureau
(323) 890-5500

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