Photo by Jason Lewis for Sentinel
It was a quiet day at Harbor City Narbonne High School on Tuesday, May 26. The day after Memorial Day is usually one of joy as friends discussed their plans and began counting down until the end of school.
What made this day different was evident when people walked to the administration building and saw a car’s back windshield read “#4 Danny, Another Angel.”
The day after a holiday where America honored its fallen soldiers, Narbonne had to come to grips with the tragic murder of Dannie Farber Jr., an 18-year-old senior on the football team.
Farber was eating dinner with a girl at a Louisiana Fried Chicken in Compton on May 24 when at around 9:40 p.m., a unidentified assailant approached him and, after exchanging words, opened fire four times.
Principal Gerald Kabata spent Tuesday morning visiting with Farber’s family–a visit he had hoped to make under better circumstances when Farber graduated next month.
Requests for interviews at the school were denied, perhaps giving administrators time to help the student body deal with the grief internally. At press time, no plans of a formal ceremony at the school were announced.
Farber, who was on track to graduate next month, was an All-City wide receiver that helped Narbonne share the City Section championship with San Pedro. He had several scholarship offers and was already preparing to play at Harbor College next fall.
His last touchdown catch of his career was a pivotal one, a four-yard grab in the fourth quarter that set up Narbonne’s 25-24 victory over Crenshaw in the City semifinals.
At the restaurant on Rosecrans and Central Avenue where he was gunned down., a vigil was set up outside the main entrance. Amongst the many candles lay some of his favorite hats, a school T-shirt, cards from neighbors and a balloon that read “Congrats Graduate.”
On the window was a picture of Farber, along with a heartfelt note that a friend had written to him.
Some passed by and asked what happened. Some paused to pay their respects. And several classmates and teammates came by with tears in their eyes to leave more candles and reflect on their fallen friend.
“He was always there for me. He knew what to say when I was going through a rough situation,” said Desmond Sheppard, a teammate of Farber’s.
Blayre Norton, whose cousin was a close friend of Farber, described one of the last conversations he had with her aunt.
“She asked if he dropped off her son and he said yea,” Norton said, “He added that he was getting something to eat and would talk to her later,”
It was a conversation that never resumed.
Norton had only seen him in passing for a few years–she said that Farber had some family in the area–but was struck by how he carried himself and lamented that he was now gone.
“He was a gorgeous child. He was respectful and now he’s not going to make it to his graduation, which he would have loved,” she said.
Friends and family told reporters that Farber was not involved with any gang activity. The cards at the vigil described him as a hero to those who knew him
Police said that no description of the gunman has been released and an investigation is still pending.
Farber’s death comes on the heels of Jamiel Shaw (Los Angeles HS) and Eric Sims (Washington Prep HS) last year as well as LaTerian Tasby (San Pedro HS) in 2007.
For his mother, stepfather, relatives and friends, it’s a scene they wish didn’t repeat so close to home. Graduation plans were now replaced with funeral arrangements as now a holiday that honors fallen heroes will be recalled for another hero taken away too soon.