A 16-year-old student of a Westchester High School Magnet program was killed Wednesday, March 30th, after a man walked up to the student and shot him in the head outside the student’s home in the Athens area of Los Angeles, police said.
Avrell Dugas, a tenth-grade student of the Westchester Math Science Aerospace Magnet program, was shot shortly after 4:30 p.m. at Century Boulevard and Gramercy Place, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Smith of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide bureau.
Dugas had gone outside his Gramercy Place house to meet his nine-year-old sister and six-year-old niece, who were returning from school.
He was waiting to help them cross the busy street, which is near his home, when a young African-American man, approximately 16 to 20 years in age, approached Dugas and shot him, Smith said.
The shooter then got into a passing van and drove away, the detective said.
A number of witnesses, including Dugas’s younger sister and some neighbors, saw the shooting, and one man rushed to help, Smith said.
Dugas’s grandmother, who was inside the house and heard the shots, called 9-1-1 and rushed to Dugas’s side.
Sheriff’s officers responded to the scene and Dugas was taken to County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, where he subsequently died from his injuries at about 5:10 p.m., the detective said.
“He was a good student and he never got into any serious trouble,” said Ronald Keating, Westchester High Math Science Aerospace Magnet program coordinator.
“He had a great smile and he was very personable. He was popular with the other students on campus.”
Sheriff’s homicide detectives are continuing the investigation and are looking for two black male suspects, 16 to 20 years old.
The suspected shooter was wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt with a hood and blue jeans, he said, and the other suspect was driving the van that was seen leaving the crime scene.
Police are looking for a purple or lavender van, described as a Plymouth Voyager or Dodge Caravan.
The motive for the shooting is still unknown and it is not believed to be gang-related, Smith said.
“He was not in a gang,” Smith said of Dugas. “He was a nice kid.
“He went to church and went to school.”
Dugas had attended the Westchester Magnet program for a little over a semester after transferring in September, and got along well with the other students, Keating said.
The news of the Dugas death reached the school Thursday, March 31st, and a crisis team of psychologists and counselors was sent by the Los Angeles Unified School District to help students cope with the tragic news.
“There has certainly been a lot of sadness and frustration with this kind of loss of a young person,” Keating said.
Dugas had become interested in a weight conditioning class at the school to prepare for a chance at playing on the Westchester High football team in the fall, he said.
Anyone with information that may be related to this crime is asked to call sheriff’s headquarters at (323) 526-5541, or the sheriff’s homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.