Sgt. Anita Shaw returned from her second tour in Iraq to bury her 17-year-old son, Jamiel, who was never involved in a gang.
"I really don't see a difference, because to me, gangs are nothing but terrorism," Shaw said.
Even in gang-hardened L.A., Jamiel's death is shocking - and it is just one in a string of recent shootings of innocent children, reports Sandra Hughes.
Thirteen-year-old Anthony Escobar was shot and killed picking lemons for dinner. "I tried to pick him up, and I was just yelling for help," his uncle, John Aguilar, said.
Six-year-old Lavareay Elzy is in critical condition - shot in the head while riding in his family's SUV. And five kids were wounded in a gang shootout at a bus stop.
"Our children are being shot down every damn day!" one mother said.
Officials are trying to calm fears that black and Latino gang wars are heating up - but admit that with 80,000 gang members in the city, the police need help.
"You can't just arrest your way out of this problem," Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa said. "We've got to support families. We've got to mentor kids."
To tackle the problem, the mayor appointed the city's first so-called Gang Czar - and his choice is somewhat surprising.
A soft-spoken, white Evangelical minister named Jeff Carr.
"Every single kid ought to know somebody believes in them," said Carr. "They think they can make it. I'm going to work my tail off to make sure that happens in this city."
Before this job, Carr built a mentoring center next to his church, where kids earn credits for doing homework, get tutored and learn computer skills.
Aspiring musician Mark Lopez knows where he'd be without this center.
"I don't want to be corny, but I'd be dead," Lopez said.
Carr's goal? More places for L.A.'s kids, and fewer innocent victims.