Like many places in this city, Jefferson Boulevard seems far less predatory in the warming mornings heading west than in the cooling dusks coming back east. At the beginning of the day the streets are mostly empty and quiet, but with the lengthening shadows that come with the other side of the clock every few blocks I find furtive men loitering at street corners who shoot me sideways glances as I approach and seem very likely to be as up to no good as they are curious if I might be some wierd subset of law enforcement. As if to verify this perception with an exclamation mark I pass a couple of officers working undercover one with gun drawn and pointed at a suspect the other officer is in the process of cuffing. The arrestee submits with neither fight nor regret. As if it’s just the familiar lose-a-turn part of the game of his life.
But before passing that parade of potential parole violations, I first found this burning candle at the south side of Jefferson at Orange Avenue as part of the makeshift shrine to Alex Amaro whose game is over and has been for almost 21 months since dying there after being shot a few blocks east at Cochran Avenue January 8, 2006. According to the sign posted (picture after the jump) calling for the public’s help and offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons resposible for his death, after Alex was shot he drove in an effort to get his two small children in the vehicle with him to safety. He crashed and died a block west of La Brea.
Below the sign is a festive “happy birthday” poster placed there by his mother or father. I know this because handwritten on it below “birthday” it says “my son.” It’s in pretty good condition so my guess is it was put there for what would have been his 25th birthday this year. Below that is a string of plastic flowers. And down on the sidewalk bracketed by more plastic flora is a line of candles, only one of which was burning.
It caught my eye. It broke my heart.