LAPD homicide detectives were busy Saturday investigating the deaths of two adult black males, ages 26 and 24, shot to death in separate incidents on the Southside..
Early Saturday evening, Maurice Reliford was fatally shot and three companions wounded near 88th Street and Figueroa in Vermont Vista when an assailant opened fire on the group.
Shortly after the shooting, friends and relatives gathered outside the crime scene tape near the Full Moon Motel. Reliford's father walked among the crowd telling everyone "God bless you."
Reliord's aunt said she ran to the shooting site and saw her nephew laid out.
"I kept saying 'Maurice! Maurice!', but he wouldn't wake up, " said Judy Ann Reliford, adding emphatically that her nephew was not a gang member.
Reliford's cousin, Brandia Cook, stood by in a dazed state before she spoke.
"If you needed something to eat, Maurice would get you something to eat," said Cook, who spoke to Reliford five hours before he was shot. She said he was from Victorville, had moved to Los Angeles two years ago and was the father of two young children. . "You hear this all the time, but he was just a really nice guy who kept to himself and mainly hung out with his cousins. He loved hip hop. Especially E-40 and Nipsey Hussle. He was a great cousin. "
Saturday morning detectives were at 82nd Street just east of Vermont Avenue in Vermont Knolls where the 24-year-old, an reputed Avalon Crip gang member with a lengthy criminal record, lay dead. He may have been shot as early as Friday before midnight, but the body was not discovered until 6 a.m., authorities. A U.S. Post Office is 20 feet away from where the victim died and detectives are hoping the surveillance cameras there will provide valuable information.
Outside the crime scene tape and the 'murder tent" where the victim's body lay hidden from view and covered with a sheet, the man's mother wailed. "Not my son!. Oh, my god, not my son1"
Maurice Reliford with one of his two boys.