Crews on the scene in the 1100 block of West 11th Street in Pomona, Feb. 20, 2017. Photo: OnSceneTV
Crews on the scene in the 1100 block of West 11th Street in Pomona, Feb. 20, 2017. Photo: OnSceneTV

A community prayer service will be held Friday evening in memory of an 8-year-old boy who was killed in a drive-by shooting that occurred while he and his family were visiting friends for dinner in Pomona.

The shooting occurred about 6:35 p.m. Monday in the 1100 block of West 11th Street, Pomona Police Lt. Alex Rilloraza said.

Jonah Min Hwang of Pomona died at a hospital, according to Pomona police, who have not established a motive for the shooting.

“The devastation that we feel from this loss is unfathomable,” according to a statement released by his family and posted on a GoFundMe page. “We welcomed Jonah into our family less than three years ago, after adopting him from an orphanage in Taiwan. He had an infectious smile and loved everyone and everything: sports, wrestling with his dad, running, laughing, superheroes.

With his playful demeanor, he adapted almost immediately to life in the United States and became a full-blooded American in no time at all. Jonah was a light and joy in our household and we cannot imagine our family without him.”

The community prayer service is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 1215 S. Hamilton Blvd.

Pomona police Lt. Eddie Hernandez told reporters the shooting occurred while the residents were hosting a dinner at which four children were present. He said the boy did not live at the home, but was visiting with his family.

Neighbors told reporters the residents are married schoolteachers with two children of their own.

“As a parent, as a longtime police officer in this community, this is right up there with some of the more senseless acts of violence that we see as police officers,” Hernandez said.

“We’re definitely going to investigate this the way we would any other investigation, but keep in mind a family lost an 8-year-old little boy today, and if there’s anyone out there that knows anything, any suspect information, any details whatsoever, however small they might be, we would appreciate that,” he said. “… This definitely can’t go unpunished.”

Hernandez said a gunshot had been fired at the residence in January, but no one was home at the time. It was unclear if that incident was related to the fatal shooting or if was a case of “mistaken identity,” Hernandez said.

Pomona police Sgt. Bert Sanchez said Monday that the family that lives there “has zero ties to gangs that we know of. From all indications, it’s a very good family.”

Police urged anyone in the neighborhood to call police at (909) 620-2085 if they have security camera video that could help solve the crime, or other information pertinent to the investigation. Tipsters also can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

—City News Service

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