Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants


My youngest brother was shot and killed by a Venice Shoreline Crip

Jan. 24th

Dear Mr. Murray,

My name is Melanie Donahue and my family has resided in Venice, California for five generations.

On December 13, 2002, four days before my youngest brother's twenty-fifth birthday, he was shot by a Venice Shoreline Crip. Shaun Donahue worked as a carpenter for my father's company in Santa Monica. He loved the beach and tried to spend his days off walking along the boardwalk. On weekends he took care of our eighty eight year old grandfather and they would stay up late sitting on the back porch starring at the moon enjoying each other's conversations.

It was the simple things in life that made my brother happy.

Shaun and I worked together at an investment firm a couple of years ago and each morning we walked from the parking lot to our office building. One morning Shaun noticed a homeless man standing on the corner wrapped in a blanket. This homeless man had no shoes and his feet were covered in blisters. My brother told me to walk ahead and he would catch up with me in a moment.

I began to walk away, as I reached our building I saw Shaun talking to this man and pointing at his feet. My brother patted him on the shoulder and walked off.

That next morning as we exited the vehicle I saw Shaun reach into the back of his truck and grab a pair of Reebok tennis shoes. I asked what he was doing and he said that he got them for the homeless man with no shoes. He seemed so happy to be giving this man a gift that would help him so much.

I was so proud of my brother that day and wondered how he got such a huge heart and how special he really was.

Shaun was with a friend on December 13th. They had gone to a neighborhood sports bar to play a couple games of pool. At around 11:30pm they agreed that it was getting late and they should be heading home. The driver realized that his gas tank was almost empty so they decided to take a short cut through the Oakwood area of Venice.

As they drove down Indiana Avenue a couple of vehicles blocked their car in and a group of gang members began running towards their car. The driver tried to pull away -- but it was too late.

Shaun was shot in the back of the head and lay in a coma. My family was immediately notified. My father, James Donahue, was the first to arrive at the hospital. The doctor informed him that his son was not going to make it and that he had been placed on life support. My father, mother, sister and Shaun's identical twin brother, Shane and myself all met at the hospital to say goodbye to our baby boy -- the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.

We all gathered around Shaun, holding him, kissing his face and telling him how much we loved him. As I rubbed his forehead I told him not to be afraid to go and that he had been such a good boy. I pulled back from him and saw tears falling from his eyes. This devastated my family.

The spineless animal that killed my brother is hiding from the Police. The L.A. City Council has placed a $25,000.00 reward for the arrest and conviction of this ingrate. The Oakwood Community is afraid to speak up. If we all remain scared of these punks they will continue to rule our community and will continue to kill the innocent.

I am asking anyone if you know anything about my brother's murder please come forward and notify LAPD Pacific Division.

I also wanted to thank the man who comforted my brother as he lay in the car that night. I understand that you want to remain unknown and I respect the fact that you cared enough to help until help arrived. Thank you.

Don't let this happen to another family. Gang violence needs to stop...

Melanie Donahue