The lack of street lights along this stretch of Peck Road stands out.
The graffiti on the sidewalk is fresher than the coat of paint on the apartment building in the 2500 block where Sammantha Salas, 16, was shot to death Saturday night.
Inside the 47-unit building, Salas father recalled the short life of his daughter, a straight-A student and Dodgers fan, who loved to draw and spend time with her family.
Tears in his eyes, Samuel Salas recalled the endless wait for paramedics and police as he fell to the sidewalk and held Sammantha as she drew her last breath.
My daughter didnt deserve this, he told reporter Molly R. Okeon.
An unidentified friend of Salas who was also shot remained in a coma Monday at an undisclosed hospital.
Both Salas and her friend were the latest victims in a gang war thats taking on racial overtones, police say.
Salas, a Latina, was targeted by two black men or teens. At least one detective told Okeon that the killing was payback for the killing of Sanders Pete Rollins, 64, a black man who was killed yards from the front door of his home on Sherman Avenue. The suspects in that case were described as Latinos.
While Monrovia and nearby Duarte are experiencing the latest manifestation of a racially motivated gang war, its been going on in California for some time.
Doo Kim, who has worked at a dairy just down the street for 23 years, said hes heard gunfire in the neighborhood before. But never like the machine guns that cut through the still night air Saturday.
Blam, blam, blam, blam, Kim said. I had a customer who was so scared he got out of his car and we ducked down behind the counter until the police came.
In his book The Mexican Mafia, author Tony Rafael said that much of the recent violence is an extension of whats occurring in Californias prison system. And he claims it has been under-reported.
Civilian casualties like Salas or Rollins are nothing more than collateral damage to the shot-callers in Pelican Bay and San Quentin, according to Rafael.
While police have agreed with that assessment, Monrovia Mayor Rob Hammond wasnt ready to blame racial violence for the killings.
That may be an oversimplification, he said.
He did agree that diligent police work in Monrovia and the county area just south of the city will be needed to stop the violence.
There is not a good neighborhood for this to happen, Hammond said Monday. It affects us all.
In the run-up to Feb. 5, presidential candidates from both parties will be touring the Golden State in search of delegates who will support them at their respective conventions.
Some will likely stand under statuesque palm trees near beaches and talk about the effects of global warming. Others will probably visit celebrity villas in Bel Air or Malibu to collect campaign cash and discuss the need for health care reform.
Some might stand in the shadows of snow-capped mountains of Californias inland and talk about the mortgage crisis.
Very few if any will come to this pock-marked stretch of no mans land, where telephone poles outnumber the palm trees and innocent teenagers get gunned down on a rainy night.
Welcome to the real California.
There are no endless summers here, just a girl named Sammantha who will be 16 forever.