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Clifton Hibbert Sr. looked forward to the weekend because it meant that he would spend quality time with his 22-year-old son Clifton Jr. Clifton Jr. was more than just a son to him he was also his business associate and best friend.
The young man , 22 years old and weeks away from graduating form Cal State Northridge was someone to look up to.
Clifton Jr. was beloved by five brothers and two sisters and a doting mother Donna Brown who is disabled and stricken with breast cancer.
But this week instead of resuming a life filled with promise, the family and friends of Clifton Jr. will be celebrating the sort life he had.
During the early morning of Friday March 28, Clifton was driven by friends to 42nd and Figueroa to retrieve his car that was parked at a friend’s apartment building. It is a building that he has been to a number of times before without incident.
This time he and three other friends had carpooled to a party in Northridge and when they began to separate into their respective vehicles, Clifton Jr. and his friend Kenneth Patterson, 23, were shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene.
Subsequent candlelight vigils at the murder scene were replayed over and over on the nightly news cast as grieving relatives and friends were depicted with tears streaming down their faces.
“His friend lived there and he had been there before,” Clifton Sr. told the Sentinel this week as he began making arrangements for his son’s funeral.
At Sentinel press time there were no suspects in the murder, another heartless crime ripping life out of the community.
“Somebody knows what happened out there,” said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith. But no one has come forth with any information, perhaps out of fear that perhaps they could be retaliated against.
Most accounts confirm that Clifton Jr. was not affiliated with any gang, but the location of the murder of the two young men is ripe for drugs, gangs and prostitution.
In the meantime, Clifton Sr. who works as a chef at the LAX Hilton and operates an ice carving business that his son assisted in writing invoices and making deliveries for, is at a loss for words.
“He was active in all of my business and nobody can replace him,” the father stated.
Each of his week days were occupied with first visiting the mortuary and then the cemetery and in between answering calls from reporters and friends. As exhausting as it is he steadfastly continues to stand upright for the love of his son.
Ironically, young Clifton Jr. was majoring in criminal justice and could have perhaps brought about a solution that could have prevented what he succumbed to, but that chance too is lost.
The phone for the mother of young Patterson had a voice mailbox that was full and she too has been robbed of a loved one.
We all frequently ask ourselves when will this stop. The shooting, the killings. And then we hope and pray for an answer.
No answer is sufficient. No clue will suffice. No words will completely comfort and no life celebration can fill this enormous void.
For Clifton Sr. it is a week that he must endure. He lost his son and best friend in one twinkling of an eye, and on Saturday April 5 they will all gather at Faithful Central Tabernacle Church in Inglewood to say their final goodbyes.