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MY BELOVED BROTHER: Ea Shoushtari and slain brother Bijan Shoushtari at his senior high prom gathering. Photo Courtesy of Shoushtari Family
ONE LOVE: Bijan Michael Shoushtari, who was shot on Aug. 3 and died on Aug. 5, was beloved by hundreds of friends and family members. Pictured are members of Bijan’s family: Back Row: Aisa Withers, Mark Jones, Brandy Jackson, Terry Worthey and Taylor Salisbury.
Second Row: Romana Jones, parents Marsha and Mano Shoushtari, aunt Grouvetta Jones, cousin Destiny Robinson, Stacy Dougherty.
Bottom Row: Victim Bijan Shoushtari, Yvette Lopez, Ea Shoushtari and Jaxon Evans. Not pictured is first cousin Sylvia Jones. Photo Courtesy of Shoushtari Family
SOUL MATES: Troi Wong, a junior at Hamilton High School and her boyfriend Bijan Shoushtari prior to Bijan’s senior prom. The couple had plans to wed when they reached 26 years of age. Bijan died on Aug. 5, victim of senseless gunshots on Crenshaw Blvd. Photo Courtesy of Shoushtari Family
A Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
By Langston Hughes
It is a nightmare that no parent wants to live. Losing a child!
However, that is exactly what the parents of Bijan Michael Shoushtari, 18, are enduring after a memorial of their promising 18-year old son Bijan was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Wednesday Aug. 14.
Marsha Jones-Shoushtari and her husband Manochehr Shoushtari had raised Bijan and his two older sisters Ea and Samantha in their modest home in West Los Angeles to be good kids.
Marsha moved to Los Angeles from Michigan and Manochehr migrated from Iran, together they managed a happy home and their children are vibrant models of their parents.
Samantha, 26, currently works in Puerto Rico as a manager for The Ritz Carlton, while Ea, 20, was a high school all-star basketball player for L.A.C.E.S. and is currently a member of Pepperdine University’s women’s team.
Bijan, the only son and youngest of the three was an avid member of the church which hosted his funeral. A three-year varsity letterman at Hamilton High School, among his greatest highlights was being moved up from JV to varsity to become a member of the City championship football team in 2010.
He graduated from Hamilton in May and had plans to attend El Camino College in Torrance to study to become a paramedic.
His summer vacation began with the zeal for the life he lived.
On August 1, Bijan called his sister Samantha to wish her happy birthday.
“He was with my aunt and he called me to sing happy birthday. We talked about his new girlfriend because at this time, I didn’t know that he was in a real relationship. I knew they were dating, so I asked him did he open the door for her? He said, ‘of course I opened the door for her.’ I said, ‘the car door, the cab door, do you pay for everything?’ He said, ‘why are you asking me these questions’ and he got mad at me, but I wanted make sure that he was being a good man,” Samantha recalled.
Soon after Bijan posted a picture of him and Samantha, which read, “Love you Sis, I hope to see you soon!”
Just the mere thought of that last conversation she had with her over protecting little brother was too much to bear. She then broke down in tears on the evening of Monday Aug. 12.
She had flown from Puerto Rico to be at her mother and father’s side and to comfort Ea and a bevy of family and friends who had gathered at the family home making the final preparations for Bijan.
Samantha gingerly clang to her mother’s hand and both of them cried. I too wrestled with my emotions over the enormity of their loss.
“If Bijan could not be here with me then I would certainly want him to be with God which is where he is right now, and I know that,” Marsha uttered, as tears flowed freely from her reddish cheeks.
Ea briskly moved throughout the house where more than two- dozen family and friends had gathered.
This was a home full of energy, emotion and compassion. The love was in abundance and the spirit of God was omnipresent.
The girlfriend that he left behind still has another year before she graduates from Hamilton. The tragedy albeit more than 10 days past, still fresh and raw.
Troi Wong, a presence of the innocence that was commonly shared about Bijan, had been dating him for the past three months.
“I texted him all night, but I couldn’t get a response from him, so I called his mom and then she told me,” Wong, solemnly added.
Collectively she said, ‘they dreamt of completing college, getting married and giving birth to a son by the time they were 26.’ Troi will still have the chance to make 26, but her prom date with Bijan is their most cherished memory now.
Best friend Alfred Mavray played football with Bijan at Hamilton and is now left with a tremendous void.
“I was out in Santa Barbara camping, so we decided that when I got back that we would go and hang out and have some fun because I haven’t seen him all week. About 2:30 that morning, I got a call from another of his best friends and he told me,” sadly stated Mavray.
Bijan’s uncle, Pastor Mark Jones, had the challenge of eulogizing his nephew. He shared the volley of text messages from his sister Marsha on that fateful morning.
Pastor Jones was in a conference; his sister was requesting his prayers as she informed him of their beloved.
Bijan was shot Saturday, Aug. 3, in the 4400 block of Crenshaw Blvd. He and two other people were traveling north on Crenshaw Boulevard in a 1973 white Buick Electra shortly after midnight when a light-colored, midsize vehicle drove along the passenger side and a gunman shot at the Buick, according LAPD Det. Supervisor Sal LaBarbera.
Bijan was sitting on the passenger side of the classic Buick and was struck several times, LaBarbera said. The two other people in the car were not injured.
Bijan fought for his precious life for two infinite days, countless relatives and friends converged at Cedar Sinai Hospital.
The prayers increased, their hope for a positive outcome never wavered. Bijan did not give up, but he succumbed on Monday, Aug. 5, at 5:37 p.m., according to coroner's spokesman Ed Winter.
Law enforcement is still searching for a suspect.
Bijan’s sterling reputation as an acolyte at the church, one who aided the elderly before helping anyone else on Sunday’s eliminated any possibility that he was intended for such violence.
Friends say that neither of the other occupants of the vehicle has known affiliations with gang members.
The driver of the car was responsible for decorating it, but was new to the area. The only associates that he had were Bijan and a few friends, according to Wong.
Marsha struggled with what she would say to the suspect if she met him.
“I would have a lot of questions. Who loved you? Who are your parents?”
She has vowed to establish an organization in Bijan’s name to prevent such senseless violence from wrecking another family.
Because as she concluded, “You never know the moment or the hour!”
Anyone with information is asked to call the LAPD criminal gang homicide division at (213) 485-1383. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.