The L.A. riots began 20 years ago today, a five day period of fires, looting, and destruction. More than 60 people lost their lives in that chaos, victims were as young as 15 and as old as 87, mostly blacks and latinos. Some were participating in the riots, but many were simply innocent bystanders. The Los Angeles Times has created a chart of the dead on their website with a searchable map and database. It’s a haunting reminder of just how much this city lost during those heartbreaking five days.
A few of the casualties:
Juana Espinosa, a 65-year-old Latina, was shot and killed Saturday, May 2, 1992, in the 7600 block of South Compton Avenue in Willowbrook. Espinosa was shot in the stomach by a 15-year-old boy who authorities say was aiming for two other youths.
Betty Jackson, a 56-year-old black woman, died Friday, May 1, 1992, in South Park while rushing to deliver some barbecued chicken to a friend before the citywide evening curfew began.
The small car that Jackson and her sister were in was struck by a van at Main and 51st streets. Traffic lights were out throughout the area.
“Betty was very generous,” said Ingrid Chamberlin, a relative. “Betty was like the one person you would want to win the lottery. If she’s rich, everybody’s rich. That’s the kind of person she is.”
Thanh Lam, a 25-year-old Asian man, was shot and killed Thursday, April 30, 1992, in Compton.
Lam was leaving his family’s market in Compton, which had been looted and burned the night before. The traffic signal at Willowbrook Avenue and Alondra Boulevard had turned yellow, and Lam slowed to a stop.
A car bumped him from the rear and pulled up in the next lane. At least two gunmen leaned out with handguns and began firing. One bullet shattered the truck’s window; a volley of shots ripped into the cab.
Four bullets hit Lam, and within minutes he was dead.
Matthew Haines, a 32-year-old white man, was beaten and shot in the head Thursday, April 30, 1992, in Long Beach. Haines and his nephew, Scott Coleman, 26, were pulled from Haines’ motorcycle at the corner of Lemon Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway. Haines was beaten, kicked and fatally shot in the head. Coleman was shot but survived.