'The Legal System Has Failed': Loved Ones Seek Answers in Murders of 2 Calif. Men 15 Years Ago

Cliff Hibbert Jr., 22, and Kenneth Patterson, 23, died on March 28, 2008, following a shooting in South Los Angeles

Family foto of Clifton Hibbert Jr. in cap and gown for graduation from Santa Monica High. Hibbert Jr was fatally shot Friday morning in Los Angeles.
Cliff Hibbert Jr. Photo: Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty

The family of a 22-year-old California college student who was shot and killed alongside his friend in 2008 is renewing their calls for justice on the 15th anniversary of their murders.

Donna Brown, whose son Cliff Hibbert Jr. died on March 28, 2008, following a shooting in South Los Angeles said in a press release Tuesday that her son's life was cut short just as he was building a future for himself.

"Toward his last year of school, my son started to buckle down and prepare himself for his future, but all those hopes and dreams were shot down when he was murdered that night," she said, per the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

"The week leading up to his murder, he was promoted to management at his job and purchased a new car independently," Brown added. "I listened and watched my son become a man and was so proud of him. He went out to celebrate and enjoy his life for all his hard work on spring break until he was gunned down."

Hibbert, a California State University - Northridge student, and his friend, 23-year-old Kenneth Paterson, were killed when shots rang out outside an apartment complex in Vermont Square, authorities told KTLA-TV.

"Hibbert's dream was to practice business law and he was working on getting a scholarship to do his internship in Washington, D.C.," the release states.

So far, the murders have remained unsolved, and this week, officials and loved ones asked the public to come forward with any information relating to the case.

"My heart breaks knowing that this 22-year-old man's life was taken away from him so soon and what hurts even more is that the person or persons responsible have never been held accountable," District Attorney George Gascón said.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

"The legal system has failed Cliff Jr. and so many others like him. We are here today asking the community that if you have witnessed this or any other homicide to please come forward. Your information plays a vital role in the arrest and filing of criminal charges. That information may save a life."

The D.A. said he hopes to partner with various law enforcement agencies to provide critical details to the public with hopes of jarring someone's memory and catching a break in the case.

"Sadly, African Americans represent a disproportionate number of homicide victims," the release states.

"Their murders are also solved at a lower rate than white victims. Unsolved homicides, like the murder of Cliff Hibbert, can languish for decades because members of our community who know what happened are afraid and they don't trust law enforcement. While some cases are solved with forensic or video evidence, there are others in which eyewitness testimony is critical."

Anyone with information on the killings is asked to call the LAPD's South Bureau Homicide at (323) 786-5100. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (800) 222-8477.

Related Articles