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Healing 44th Street: ‘His Spirit Is Right Here On The Block’

Above: Jasiri Lacey shares a few words about his brother Rickquese McCoy, who was killed in a June 30, 2012 shooting in City Heights.

Ricky McCoy Jr. spreads his son's ashes in the planting bed for the memorial tree.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

When Rickquese McCoy was young, Swan Canyon behind his house was off-limits. It was overgrown and pitch-black at night, making it the perfect venue for illegal activity — or, if you were a kid, just enough rebellion to put your parents on edge.

McCoy's grandmother Patricia said he often ignored her warnings about the chasm of land that runs parallel with Highland Avenue in City Heights. He went back there all the time.

Now that canyon is the final resting place for McCoy, who was gunned down June 30 in a random shooting on 44th Street that also left 34-year-old Stephen McClendon dead and another seriously injured.

Friends and family spread McCoy's ashes earlier this month at the base of a toyon tree planted for him by the Ocean Discovery Institute's Watershed Avengers. The group beautifies and clears debris from urban canyons that lead to the bay and ocean.

"We had a lot of good little memories together, especially coming up in this canyon and trying to be sneaky as little kids," said McCoy's sister, Kayla Hodges, 18. "This is a spot you guys can all come to, vent to him, talk to him just like he's still here. His spirit is right here on the block."

Residents on the block have been honoring McCoy by coming together to seek solutions to increased violence in City Heights. They lacked a formal place to remember him until now.

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