More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday morning to pay tribute to Carl Sebastian Betts at the Bethel A.M.E. Church on Western Avenue, recalling him as a "cornerstone of his family" and "a friend who was always there when you needed him."
Betts, 51, was shot to death on the night of May 31st on St. Andrews Place and 85th Street by some lost soul who asked him those three notorious words "Where you from?"
The accurate answer to that question from Carl would have been Florence, Arizona, and - if he got particular - to James and Barbara Betts on June 29, 1963. His large family moved to South Los Angeles and he attended La Salle Avenue Elementary, Brette Harte Middle School and Washington and Gardena high schools.
Betts married the love of his life, Jessa Weaver, in 1992 and was a father to eight and a grandfather to nine.
"Carl was the cornerstone of his family, a man who made other people feel good about themselves," said Kevin "Twin" Orange who had known Betts for nearly 40 years. "He was all about family."
Several of the mourners talked of Betts love of sports and his nearly fanatical love of the Dallas Cowboys. Several men attending the funeral wore Cowboys jerseys.
"Somehow, even if the conversation wasn't about sports, Carl would find a way to bring up the Dallas Cowboys," said one man.
On his last night on earth, Betts visited his mother Barbara, gave her a gift, told her he loved her, and went out to get some food with two friends. By 10:30, he was dead.,Detectives have surmised Bett's assailants may have thought he was "from" Eight Trey Gangster Crips, the gang that has dominated that Manchester Square neighborhood for decades.
Wednesday around 12:30 p.m., an Eight Trey Gangster known as "G Witit" was shot to death by the liquor store on 88th Street and Vermont Avenue.
And, as Betts was being eulogized, so too was Tavin Price, the intellectually disabled 19-year-old who was shot to death in front of his mother at the car wash on Florence Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard. To read more on Price check here - http://krikorianwrites.com/blog/2015/6/11/4vfs7n6zmv7g036k8lrjivb5x6f20t
Twin, speaking from the church podium, passionately urged the crowd to get involved with ending the gang violence.
"We should be ashamed of ourselves because we are creating a genocide. We have become expert marksmen on each other, We need to stop this and make our neighborhood a community like we had in the '70s."
After the funeral, on Vermont Avenue and 88th Street, Raymond Lockett slowly shook his head as he spoke of his old friend Betts who had the nickname "Straw Dog".
"Man, Straw Dog was good people. And they killed him for nothing."