PORTLAND, Ore. -- For six years, Lucy Mashia has been hoping and praying that someone would identify the person who murdered her son.
“The grief has been horrific,” she said.
Leonard James “LJ” Irving Jr. was shot and killed just after midnight on June 26, 2011. It happened near Northeast 82nd Avenue and Thompson Street.
Mashia said Irving was trying to protect his nephew during a fight when he was killed. Two other men were also shot. Police believe there were witnesses. But to this day no one has named a suspect.
“The police know who did it, they just can't get any witnesses to tell them!” Mashia said. “You need somebody to say, ‘Yeah, I saw this.’ I can't even be mad at the police. I'm mad at my community.”
Mashia’s frustration stems from what she sees as a “code of silence” among many in her community, the thought that anyone who identifies a violent criminal to police is a snitch.
To help combat that mindset, Mashia is trying to empower her neighbors. She’s asking them to make a pledge to not stay silent if they see a crime.
“We want people to sign it and to stand up and step out,” she said. “Say something when you see something.”
Mashia knows her son's case is not unique. There are other victims whose killers could be in prison, if only someone would speak up.
“We've been co-signing murder by keeping our mouths shut,” said Mashia. “We’ve got to stop the killing.”
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest in this case. The number to call is 503-823-HELP. You can also text CRIMES (274637) then type 823HELP followed by your tip. You can remain anonymous.