Early on January 10, 25-year-old Christopher Hawthorne of Santee was shot and killed near O’Connell’s bar in Bay Park. Police reports say Hawthorne got into a fight outside the club, then was chased by a man who shot him a block away.

Sulo King, a talent buyer at nearby Brick by Brick, says, “There were a lot of skinheads [in the audience] that night.… Everyone knows Oxblood is one of the original oi bands.”

Based in New York City, Oxblood was founded in 1992. Paul, the band’s bassist, said the following in a 1999 interview with punkoiuk.co.uk: “The main themes in our lyrics are a reflection of our everyday skinhead life in New York City. We sing about things we go through, like violence, being locked up, the New York Police Department, working, etc. Unlike other bands, we don’t just sing about it, we live it.”

Oxblood lyrics from the song “Our Colors” include “Running around with our crew/ Better watch out, our eyes are on you/ What the fuck are you looking at/ About face before we strike/…My veins are on a mission to let out aggression/ To seek and destroy is our intention.”

O’Connell’s owner Rick LaLama says he knew Oxblood to be “…a hard-rock band. We book hard-rock bands all the time. The band [members were] not the ones who started the stuff that went on. I didn’t see the band start anything.”

Regarding the charge that his bar was filled with “Nazi skinheads” (according to one person who was there), LaLama says, “I don’t know that every well-built tattooed white male you see is a skinhead. I don’t even know what that is.”

When asked if he was the one who booked the bands for that night or if an outside promoter scheduled the lineup, LaLama says, “I don’t have a lot more to say.”

Last Thursday, a suspected gunman of Latino descent — a teenager — was arrested in Los Angeles. After Hawthorne’s death, the established roadside memorial included a sign that read, “Hail Our Fallen Comrade! 88!” The double 8s refer to the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, reputedly a reference to the phrase “heil Hitler.”

— Ken Leighton

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Comments

rsergent Jan. 22, 2009 @ 7:53 p.m.

I read with interest your website article regarding a tragic death in your community and the placement of a roadside memorial at the site. It was well written and informative.

Your readers would benefit from the knowledge there is an alternative to displaying a roadside memorial on public roads or right of ways. The National Memorial Registry (www.NationalMemorialRegistry.com) is Internet based and offers free of any charge, the opportunity for any individual to dedicate a memorial location to a loved one. With the help of our extensive database of mapping software, a person can dedicate a specific address, site, or location in honor of, or to validate, the life of an individual that has an influence on their lives. Every memorial dedication is displayed on our maps for the world to view.

It is a well known fact that many individuals need to experience the grieving process through the display of a roadside memorial. All too often, local jurisdictions are regulating this practice. Some are limiting the time a memorial can be displayed, others are banning them. Some jurisdictions have regulations regarding the placement of memorials but local enforcement is not done, often by choice to help the grieving family. This same website has a database of information on many of the states, cities, and countries regarding their current and past position, and if available, current legislation regarding the placement of roadside memorials.

Please let your future readers know about this alternative. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kindest regards,

Robert Sergent President/CEO National Memorial Registry, Inc. 330 Rayford Road, #162 Spring, Texas 77386 Phone: 888-292-4021 Fax: 281-754-4501 email: rsergent@nationalmemorialregistry.com website: www.NationalMemorialRegistry.com

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