Wednesday, June 19, 2013

California: Decedent Uses Poor Judgment in Taking Photographs of Homeless, Panhandlers

According to, Los Angeles County's Sheriff's Department, which provides police service to Lynwood, CA, filed a report of Christina Calderon, 23, being stabbed to death on Tuesday night (June 18).

Witnesses reported that Ms. Calderon was walking with a friend when they observed three men who were engaged in holding up signs and panhandling for donations.

Subsequently, Calderon reportedly took photos of the three men with her mobile phone, prompting a dispute and a demand that Calderon pay the men for taking their photographs.

Suddenly, Calderon was stabbed in the torso and was late pronounced dead at a local hospital.

COMMENT: Some 40 years ago, while pursuing a graduate degree in justice studies at The American University in Washington, DC, I took a course entitled "Perspectives in Victimology."

The goal of this course, so many years ago, was designed to demonstrate that many crimes are "victim-precipitated," suggesting that certain behavior by would-be victims often results in a person being targeted for a violent crime.

Although we express our condolences and sympathies to the family of Ms. Calderon, if the victim lived in Lynwood (i.e. LA County), she should have known the type of response that panhandlers (who depend on donations from pedestrians) were likely to have.

Clearly, most urban dweller know all too well how contentious and even violent street people can become, particularly considering that may predominantly commit crime to survive day-by-day. Thus, they are very UNLIKELY to agree to having their picture taken without compensation.

Sadly, had Calderon not erred in photographing potentially violent and/or mentally ill persons, she might well be alive today. If she had paid the men as they demanded, she might also be alive.

Three suspects were later arrested in the vicinity where Ms. Calderon was stabbed to death and remain in police custody. 

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to contact Olympic Homicide detectives Dave Vinton or José Robledo at (213)382-9470.