“We have not forgotten about him”

This letter comes from Gloria Baptiste, sister of Shawn Baptiste, who was shot to death in Pasadena Fre. 7, 2007/ Baptiste was one of several killed during a spike of violence that took hold in Pasadena in 2007. Here’s the letter:


During the week of July 14, 2008 a preliminary hearing took place at the Pasadena Superior Courthouse. The prosecution presented its evidence which included witness testimonies and audio tapings. At the end of the week-long proceedings the four men suspected of murder; Michael Grigsby, Jerrell Sanford, Jeremi Carr and Dwayne Rice, were formally charged with murder of Shawn Baptiste and attempted murder against the two men who were in the car with Shawn when the shooting took place. The case goes to trial August 1, 2008.


I know you probably get many stories similar to this, especially with the rising gang violence that has plagued Pasadena over the last 18 months. The violence has not only affected my family, but also the families of the other victims. However, what about the families of those who are guilty for these acts? What about the mothers of the four men on trial for the murder of my brother? Do they not grieve over the loss of their son? Do the men on trial not grieve over the loss of their future; their freedom?

What I cannot understand is the transition that takes place in the heart of a person when they make the conscious decision to aim a gun at the heart or head of another and pull the trigger with the intent to end a life. How does a soul wrap itself around that? I mean, at night does the shooter remember the face of the one they killed? How do they see themselves now that the very unmistakable line has been crossed? 


I wonder these things because even the shooter is human. Even their heart bleeds. I understand that a conscious can be seared and after which become useless in the life of a person. But on some level, for all men there exists a place of compassion.


When the anniversary of my brother’s passing arrived, memories flooded my every waking moment and for some strange reason this time around I wasn’t as strong as last year. It could be that my time for grief had finally arrived but regardless of the reason *shaking my head* there I stood – staring the reality of my loss in the face. Praise God for the gift of writing which operates as our release, because through it He is glorified and others (like myself) are touched and in small ways healed one sentence at a time.


Shawn meant the world to my family and me. He was not only a son and brother, but a friend to us as well. We have not forgotten about him.


Will you or someone from your office please attend the trial to document what is taking place?


Thank you,


Gloria Baptiste

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  • That is one very moving letter. Is someone going to cover it?

  • Jan Williams

    One of my young grandsons, Devon, would have turned 8 this weekend. It’s hard to face those special days without collapsing into a puddle of goo sometimes, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I’m sorry for every person who has to join this horrible club. I hope now that your trial date has finally been set, you will be able to find some answers to your questions and some peace of mind. We’re still waiting.

  • David

    Gloria, if you check these comments, my name is David and new Shawn, I visited Zanja many times in the last months of his life. I may, even, have met you, I’m the white kid. I only found out what happened to Shawn in the summer of 2007, after many phone calls, unreturned. I found out from one of his friends, and was devastated. I am just seeing if you know about the welfare of your father, as well as Ralph, I was particularly close to Butch and never was able to talk to him about Shawn’s death. I left my e-mail on here, but it, again is


    If you have any information about this or just want to say hi, I would be so grateful to hear from you. Shawn’s memory lives on in more than just his family, he was a special, smart, and extremely funny guy who I think about, still, all the time, and whose memory still brings tears of anger, sadness, and devastation to my eyes.

  • jane doe

    It’s really ironic that Dwayne Rice was released from this crime and yet 30 days after his realease he took a life of another man? heartless he is. I truly hope they keep him off the streets this time.