Photo: Ben Dixon, left, brother of the woman who allegedly shot her two children,
speaks with police. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Right about now I should be celebrating the success of another Taste of Soul Festival, and in a few trust me, I am. But before I get to that, I want to get to this because during the middle of my running around at today’s festival I received a very disturbing text message from one of the local news channels about an incident that took place right down the street from where we were celebrating our Blackness.  And while you might not read about the one hundred thousand people who came out to today’s Taste of Soul Festival, you will be reading about this in the L.A. Times tomorrow…

From the Los Angeles Times

A 5-year-old boy is dead and a his 1-year-old brother is in extremely critical condition after their mother reportedly shot them in a South Los Angeles apartment this morning, police said.

The 25-year-old woman, who has not yet been identified, called 911 about 8:30 a.m. and told the dispatcher that she had killed her children. When officers arrived at the small apartment complex along the 7200 block of Gramercy Place, the woman was standing on a second floor balcony waving a handgun.

She told police officers to shoot her, according to a law enforcement source. Officers, however, distracted and then disarmed her.

Inside the apartment they found the body of  the 5-year-old. The younger boy had been shot multiple times and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, police said.

[Updated at 1:08 p.m.: Police identified the woman as La’ Tonya Dixon.]

After hearing the woman scream, next-door neighbor Sandra Jones said she saw her on the balcony rail and yelled out, “No, don’t jump! You have [your son] and the baby to think about! They’re going to need you.”

As officers arrived at the beige stucco apartment, the mother told police to shoot her. She was walking in and out of her apartment with the handgun, police said. Officers ordered her numerous times to drop the gun, but she refused. At one point she climbed on the balcony rail and stood on it, as if preparing to jump, police said.

At one point she put the gun on the balcony floor and officers quickly tackled and arrested her, police said.

Inside the living room they found the body of a 5-year-old boy. The younger boy had been shot multiple times and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he is in critical condition, police said.

Neighbors said the woman walked her always-smiling oldest son to school every day, with the baby, Michael, in tow.

“He’d be so proud to go to school,” Jones said. “She was a wonderful mom. She was a wonderful mom. I just don’t know what happened.”

Danielle Jones, 17, whose 2-year-old son would play with Michael, said she hadn’t seen them outside for about a month. “She closed the doors and it would be all dark,” she said.

At 4:30 this morning, she heard the mother arguing loudly to herself. Jones said she was known to talk to herself. And then, at 8 a.m., they heard gunshots.