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Kaytlynn has since gotten a tattoo of the Chinese character for the word "dragon," surrounded by flames, the same kind of flames that ran up RJ's forearm. "It's a reminder that he's always surrounding me," she says.
Guns in the Neighborhood The elapsed time from RJ's phone call to his friend Pete and the final call to 911 was twenty minutes, from 11:37 to 11:57. During that time, someone entered RJ's apartment, someone friendly enough that RJ apparently was about to offer him or her a Corona. Minutes later he was dead.
Sgt. Altarr Williams says no arrests are imminent. "This is a neighborhood where everybody and their mothers have guns on New Year's Eve," he notes, suggesting that someone off the street could have killed RJ. Others wonder whether RJ stepped outside briefly. Perhaps he was shot then but managed to climb the stairs back to the apartment, close the door behind him, and dial 911 before falling to the ground. That still would not explain the Coronas, however.
His mother learned of her son's death only when Tino Anthony called on January 5 to offer condolences. She tries to stay in touch with the police in hopes of finding answers, but complains that weeks sometimes pass before Detective Velasquez returns her calls. On the few occasions they have talked, she recounts, the detective has told her to call Kaytlynn and try to "get as much information as possible."
RJ's mother and Kaytlynn have spoken twice, but Kaytlynn is reluctant to talk again. "All that we have in common is that we lost him," she says. "And on top of that, it's hard to explain my relationship to him. That's a very complex thing. And I don't know how much of it she was aware of. I knew she knew that RJ and I were crazy about each other. That's a hard thing to explain. Why was I with someone else? And why was RJ okay with that?"
Kaytlynn is correct in her assumption. "Why do you confess your love to him, and you still had a boyfriend?" RJ's mother asks rhetorically. "Why did you lead my son on the way that you did? Why did you just stop calling him [on New Year's Day]?"
Last month Stefan VonFouts and Christian Webb settled into a new studio in the Design District. Today a sign in front of the Rectangle Art Space building advertises an "artist's loft" for rent.
One of VonFouts's friends has designed a tattoo in remembrance of RJ. It features a Chinese symbol for the words "sky walker" manipulated to resemble a Paleolithic cave painting. VonFouts says he and Webb both plan to get the tattoo out of respect for their fallen friend.
VonFouts says he's also planning a multimedia art show "celebrating the spirit RJ was, the person he dreamed to be -- and was inside." The working title of the show, he says, is "Anti-Gravity." It will feature various images of floating objects, the illusion of things lifting off the ground and drifting away. "RJ," he explains, "was always talking about floating through space, being in the sky."
Staff writer Forrest Norman contributed to this story