Melody Ross was a 16-year-old honor student at a homecoming game in Long Beach, California. Woodrow Wilson High School played Polytechnic High and Wilson lost the game. Shots range out and Melody was hit. Update - see two new videos below
11-2-09 11-05-09. See below for updates on the arrest of two 16-year-olds charged with murder in Melody's death.
As the stadium empties after the homecoming game against long-time rival Polytechnic High School, a homecoming dance was beginning about 10 p.m., when five to seven shots reportedly rang out and Ms. Ross was hit. She died in hospital.
Melody was a pole vaulter on the schools track team, an honor student and "an innocent bystander," according to City Councilman Gary DeLong. Wilson football coach, Mario Morales, heard the shots.
Everything was shutdown as police searched for the shooters. Heavy police presence was already on the scene for the sold-out event, due to the rivalry between the two teams, but early reports say there is nothing to indicate "the shooting had anything to do with bad blood between the schools."
At this time, there is no information about gang-related activity. Two men, 18 and 20 years old, were also injured, although their wounds were not life threatening. The two men were not students.
Melody was a junior in Advanced-placement honors classes. Her sister, Emily, a senior at Woodrow Wilson, was with her at the game. Ms. Ross died at St. Mary Medical Center approximately one-half hour after the shooting. Friends described her as "polite and well-liked." An uncle, Sam Che, said the family emigrated from Cambodia to Southern California in the 1980's: "We escaped the killing fields," he said. Melody was born in the United States.
The photo above is courtesy of Melody's close friend, Tori Rowles, who wrote a letter to Melody saying, "You were truly like a sister to me. We were totally unseparable." Read the entire letter at LBReport.com.