Living in fear

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first_imgWHITTIER – Death came knocking on Christina Reynoso’s door last year. The bespectacled man standing in the yard of her Vicki Drive home on June 1, 2006, called himself “James” and asked for her son, Michael. He grinned as if to disarm her.She told her youngest child that a man at the door was asking to see him. He stepped outside. The next thing Christina Reynoso heard were three gunshots.She held her 18-year-old son as he bled from wounds to his upper body. He died in an ambulance. Detectives know what the killer looks like from a description provided by Christina Reynoso, 49. But the composite remains unidentified. And the trail has gone cold.Investigators and Reynoso’s family are hoping for a tip or a witness who could crack the case.“Our family deserves closure. Michael deserves justice,” Christina Reynoso said.June 1, 2006Christina Reynoso came to her house in the 7800 block of Vicki Drive from the local Stater Bros. where she had picked up a few items. It was about 9:20 p.m. Her son had just woken up from a nap, washed his face and returned to his bedroom in the garage.The doorbell rang. She opened the door and saw a stranger.“He was standing right there with his hands in his pockets,” she said.“Is Michael home?” the man asked her.When she asked who he was, the man answered, “James” and grinned. She assumed he was a friend of her son.She told Michael about his visitor. He gave her a questioning look. She remembered his room, which he usually kept neat, was a mess that night.“I said, ‘What’s up with your room? Like a tornado hit it.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, yeah. I’ll clean it.’”Michael walked out the door wearing a white undershirt and light blue and white swim trunks.Then came the three loud pops. She found her son slumped on the front porch.She called 9-1-1 then rushed back to him. She cradled his bleeding form as neighbors arrived to help.He was pronounced dead at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.The suspect took off in a Ford Taurus station wagon.Christina Reynoso left her neighborhood of 25 years. She said there were too many memories and she feared for her safety. She saw the killer.Michael ReynosoThe youngest of four children, Michael Reynoso with his green eyes was a familiar sight in the neighborhood on his bicycle.He wanted to be a boxer and was a fan of Oscar De La Hoya.Sheriff’s Detective Richard Ramirez and the Reynoso family said the young man wasn’t a gang member. But he did get into fights.Whether he had a run-in with the killer is unknown.Ramirez believes the killer was somebody familiar to Michael Reynoso.“There’s no doubt whoever did it knew Michael. Whoever did it, I’m sure he’s told other people because the community knows about this,” Ramirez said.Noah Reynoso, 30, said his brother wasn’t involved in gangs.“He was a strong person who fought for himself. He stood strong for his friends and family,” he said.Her son had a good heart, Christina Reynoso said. He was protective of family and friends.Michael Reynoso had been taking on the trappings and responsibilities of adulthood before the shooting.His brother had offered to give him their dad’s 2001 Chrysler Sebring if he got a job and a driver’s license.He earned his license. Through a temp agency, he also landed a job working at a warehouse.“Next thing you know he told me he got a job and would ride his bike there. He had to be there at five in the morning,” Noah Reynoso said.He told Michael it was too far to ride a bike at that time of the morning and handed over the car.“I let him have the car because he was being productive,” Noah Reynoso said.Michael Reynoso had been looking forward to the birth of his niece and nephew. The twins were born five months after he was killed.To honor his brother’s life, Noah Reynoso named his son Noah Michael.Michael’s killer was described as a Latino in his early 20s with a dark complexion. He stood 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 160 to 170 pounds.His face is fuller than what the composite shows, Christina Reynoso said.He wore a black or dark blue windbreaker, prescription glasses and a hat.Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Ramirez at (323) [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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