Second District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce addresses dozens of Long Beach mourners at a vigil on the steps of St. Matthews Catholic Church on Wednesday Oct. 30. The vigil was held in the wake of a mass shooting that took place near the church Tuesday night, Oct. 29. Three men were killed and nine others were wounded. (Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune)
Second District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce addresses dozens of Long Beach mourners at a vigil on the steps of St. Matthews Catholic Church on Wednesday Oct. 30. The vigil was held in the wake of a mass shooting that took place near the church Tuesday night, Oct. 29. Three men were killed and nine others were wounded.

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Members of the community gather in the wake of Long Beach mass shooting that left three dead, and nine injured

City officials and residents rally together as police look for motive behind attack.

October 31, 2019

Members of the Long Beach community gathered for a vigil at Saint Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church to mourn and offer support on Wednesday after a deadly mass shooting in Long Beach took place Tuesday night, which left three men dead and nine more injured.

Dozens of people assembled at the front steps of the church where 12 candles were arranged for the victims– three candles for the victims who were killed and nine more for the wounded. Organizers also passed out candles to the crowd before the event.

Second District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce addressed the mourners and spoke of the frustration and powerlessness her and other members of the City felt in situations like this.

“There are not many words that anybody that’s going to get up on the stage can say to make what happened okay,” Pearce said. “So, I just want to take a moment of silence and recognize that we have brought our community together, and that we’re going to feel some pain together, and we’re going to heal together.

Also speaking was Gretchen Swanson of the Rose Hill Neighborhood Association.

“Unfortunately, violence changes us. It changes the way we think. It changes the way our brain works. And that’s the dilemma. We’re trying to make sense of these physical and emotionally traumatic events,” Swanson told the crowd.

Swanson spoke to the Signal Tribune on shortly after the vigil concluded.

“The vigil is a very critical first step in healing after a major trauma– and we have had a mass trauma in the middle of our neighborhood,” Swanson said. “So, we have to do this.”

Although the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the names of the three deceased victims, the mother of Maurice Poe Jr., who’s name was written on one of the 12 candles, confirmed that Poe was killed in the shooting.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for Poe’s funeral costs.

“God bless and thank you for all the love and support our family is receiving from friends, family and the community,” the GoFundMe post read. “Anything left over from funeral expenses will go directly to Maurice Jr.’s daughter, Nia.”

Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
Twelve candles were lit in front of Saint Matthews Roman Catholic Church to honor the 12 victims who were shot at a house party Tuesday night in Long Beach. The top center candle reads “We will keep your memory alive, Maurice Poe Jr., We [love] you.” Poe Jr. was one of the 3 victims who were killed in the mass shooting.

The church, which sits on the corner of Seventh Street and Temple Avenue is not far from the scene of the attack, which happened in the 2700 block of East Seventh Street.

Tuesday night’s shooting occurred during a house party that some residents say was potentially a Halloween party.

According to a press release from the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), officers responded to the residence after receiving reports of gunfire at approximately 10:45pm.

Officers arrived to find multiple shooting victims at the scene. Members of the Long Beach Fire Department determined that three men shot were killed on-site, while the other nine victims, men and women mostly in their 20s, were transported to a local hospital.

The identities of the victims have not been released to the public as of press time.

The LBPD has not determined a motive for the shooting, but do not believe it was gang-related nor a random act of violence.

“This is a tragic incident that is not at all reflective of our community,” LBPD Department Chief of Police Robert Luna said in the police statement. “We are committed to working tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice, and provide the victims with the services they need.”

According to witnesses at the scene, the shots came from the alley behind the residence. The shooter is described as a male of unknown race, wearing dark clothing and concealed their face.

It is believed that the suspect fled the scene in a dark-colored car.

In response to the shootings, the LBPD has stepped up patrols in the area, while homicide detectives work to determine a motive. The LBPD has asked the public to come forward with any relevant information or video surveillance.

Those with information were urged to reach out to LBPD Homicide Detail Detectives Mark Mattia or Donald Collier at (562) 570-7244. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), text TIPLA plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES) or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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