The Deaths of the Los Angeles Riots

Howard Eugene Martin

Howard Eugene Martin, a 22-year-old black man, was shot and killed Sunday, May 3, 1992, near the intersection of North Los Robles Avenue and Claremont Street in Pasadena. He was known as "Nine Lives." Twice in the last five years, Martin had been a passenger in cars where the driver was killed. Once, it was a late-night automobile crash. The other time a friend was shot in the head by masked gunmen. "The boy just fell into Howard's lap," recalls his sister, Wanda. Martin's luck finally ran out three days after the verdicts in the King beating case. The father of three, who grew up only a couple of blocks from King, was killed by a stray bullet. The incident began, police said, when two officers tried to disperse more than 150 party-goers at a Pasadena apartment complex but were greeted with rocks and bottles -- and gunshots. Nearly 25 more officers arrived quickly, and 10 of them fired a total of 70 rounds at several assailants. Martin, relatives said, was visiting friends at a nearby apartment when he stepped onto a balcony to look at what was going on. He was struck in the head by a police bullet that apparently ricocheted off the street, police said. Martin's sister and other relatives said police should have shown more control over their gunfire. "They probably felt they were under attack," she said. "But that doesn't justify firing 70 rounds."

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times