Killing Time at Shadow Mountain High

When bad things happen to good neighbors

Tommy Lopez, who was part of the fight but was not charged, sits out inthe hallway, waiting to testify. He's a handsome kid, as lean as Greg is stocky, and he seems to wear a constant smirk. Lori Norfolk's stepson sits next to him, sucking on a Tootsie Roll pop while waiting his turn. Their parents are not with them in court.

At the end of the hearing, as Pat McCarville's parents leave the courthouse with the detective investigating the case, Lopez and the other boy are driving past in the parking lot.

Dramatically, the boys spin tires, and shout something out the windows that neither the McCarvilles nor the detective can hear, but which they interpret as menacing.

Later, when Lori Norfolk hears of the parking-lot incident, she explains that her son Greg and Tommy were really joshing with Mike Shoemaker and his family, that Tommy had accidentally driven his car over the curb, and that the boys and Mike's family were calling back and forth jokingly when the McCarvilles walked past.

"They can say what they want, but that's not what happened," says Pat McCarville, the father of Pat Jr.

More than once, Theresa McCarville has heard the thump, thump of music that throbs like a parody of a heartbeat out of cars with tinted windows that cruise down her street and pause in front of her house. She's given license-plate numbers tothe police, but they won't tell her who the cars belong to. Like all the parents involved, Theresa is scared for her kids.

Lori Norfolk's got her own fears. Her son has been in trouble before and, like the McCarvilles, she wonders how far the kids will go.

"I have a 10-year-old, too. Greg [Acevedo, Greg's father] has two other sons that come and visit with us. And we worry now: Are they going to come back and go after us because of this?

"You wonder how far is it going to go on?"
And no one has faith that the courts will put an end to it.

Meanwhile, on a Friday night, the Shadow Mountain basketball team bullies past a lesser opponent on its way to winning the state championship.

The team plays with the single-minded determination of teenagers, all elbows and emotions, the players' parents in the stands, bleating as if the game were mortal combat to decide the fate of the universe.

The Shadow Mountain players are good; they look good. They sport tattoos, and one starter wears his hair in a shade of Dennis Rodman yellow, a color more commonly seen on 1970s kitchen appliances. They wear their shorts low on the hips, big and baggy, and long enough to reach below their knees--gangbanger style--and whether that is intended to make them look more intimidating or whether it's just youthful imitation of their college-ball idols is anyone's guess.

Coach Jerry Conner is as mystified as anyone as to why four of his players--one varsity and three junior varsity team members--could find themselves fighting. He saw no sign of overt aggression in their demeanor. Fighting is strictly forbidden in games.

"Not only do they get sat down," Conner says, "they miss the next ball game. That's a state rule."

The kids remain heartbreakingly loyal to the memory of their late teammates.
When they go to the bench, they pull on white tee shirts; printed on the backs of the shirts are the yearbook portraits of Ryan Winn and Danny Richardson.

"It's not about hype," the shirts proclaim. "It's about the pride. It's about the love.

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ryan was shot on July 4th 1995. when the gun fired none of the 100 guests reacted, they thought it was firecrackers. the gun wasn't against his chest, probably 10 feet away. while pat didn't follow ryan I did. ryan didn't say anything to chris before striking him. ryan struck him on the side of the head, in the ear and continued with well aimed punches in the back of chris's head. chris turned his back to the assault but ryan continued. i was waiting for chris to fall so i could have a piece of the fallen stranger to release my "teen spirit" chris saved himself from the beating by turning around with the gun and firing repeatedly. ryan crumpled forwArd to the ground. i called 911 on the house phone. they asked where he was shot, they told me to look. there was a crowd around ryan, i pushed them away and pulled up his shirt. it looked like someone took a hot screw driver and stabbed him all over his torso with dark puncture holes and a circle of black soot around the holes. i could see where the normal contour of his ribs was disrupted. there was a small amount of blood from one of his arms but otherwise it was all internal bleeding. ryan was pale, not speaking and many people were screaming in terror. 911 kept me on the phone till the ambulance got there.

the detective really screwed up my statement. i didn't find out till years later when a former co-worker of mine ended up with a different job where she stumbled onto the bogus report. she sent me a copy. the report was totally facticious to side with ryan, the initiator, and the one who died that night.

i didn't know either of the boys names until the shooting. no one chased chris anywhere he ran right out of the backyard and went home to his parents i beleive.

chris could have pulled the trigger fewer times or shot him in the legs to stop the brutal assault.

i was subenad for the defense but chris settled out of court.

Similar story for the stabbings. the caucasian boys were last seen drunk driving away from Christy Cove Park holding their 40's out the window yelling out that they were gonna kick some ass. they found their younger smaller victims at pv mall. the drunk caucasiAns beat the latino boys into the pavement, turned their backs and walked away as if they had "won". the latino boys recovered, brandished their knives, rushed up on the boys who had just assaulted them and, without warning, began stabbing their perpetrators to death.

in both murderous events the dead had initiated the violence without just cause and were met by superior violence; in the first case in self defense and in the second for revenge.

I have never seen anything so violent as ryan's death.

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