Skip to main content

They found Jimmy James  dead in his van on Rose Ave in Venice, CA about 10:30am today. Ibrahim said he first noticed something was wrong when he saw the van got a parking ticket on Monday. He said that wasn't like Jimmy to fail to move the van and allow himself to be ticketed like that. He became more concerned when he saw the ticket still on the van on Tuesday.

This morning he got Jimmy's friends Johnny and Joann and they went to investigate. They found Jimmy's body in the van and judging by the smell, he had probably been dead for some time. The last time anyone remembers seeing him was on Sunday night. They looked around for his cell phone so they could call a relative. Johnny said he use to call his mother every day. Then they called 911.

Jimmy's van in it's usual spot on RoseCoroner's van takes Jimmy away
  Jimmy's van in it's usual stop on Rose   Coroner's van takes Jimmy away
Pictures above from

Here's a link to the YoVenice story.

Jimmy's van in it's usual stop on RoseJohnny & Joann who found Jimmy dead
  Ibrahim noticed the parking ticket      Johnny & Joann who found Jimmy dead

Jimmy was 58 years old and we know that he was on medication for a heart condition. He was a sign painter who had painted many of the signs around Venice. Other than that, I can tell you little about him. Venice Neighborhood Council member Ivonne Guzman has just talked to well known Venice photographer Dave Healey who is sure he has pictures of Jimmy and will get them to me this evening when he returns to Venice. When I get them, I will post them here. Indigenous people use to believe the camera could steal your soul, I believe it can preserve your soul in the sense of presenting you after you've passed. I want you to see the man that died.

Ibrahim is preparing a Memorial, Venice Style, for Jimmy on the beach using a big white drum that Jimmy gave him as the centerpiece as I write this.

I never knew Jimmy very well, but his van regularly parked on Rose Ave just across from the Digital Domain studio a couple of blocks from my apartment. He parked along their fence because they didn't complain. Sometimes I would see him as I was walking down Rose, sitting in his van with the side door open. We would always greet each other and a few times actually said a few words but I don't believe I ever even got his name.

It is much too early for a coroner's report and we don't have a clue as to the cause of death, but because of the LAPD sweeps to arrest anyone caught living in their vehicles, Jimmy couldn't sit in there with the door open anymore. He had to stay couped up in that dark and airless van the way they found him. I can't help but wonder if that, together with the growing police harassment he was being subjected to, didn't contribute to his death.

Another Venice friend, Eden, found out about Jimmy's death a harder way. She saw the tow truck towing Jimmy's van. She assumed it was simply a part of the campaign to rid Venice of the homeless [see yesterday's diary] and was first relieved when the tow truck driver told her that Jimmy hadn't been arrested. Did he know his van was being towed? He won't be needing his van, the tow truck driver told her. Oh. no she responded. Jimmy definitely needs his van. He won't be needing it, the tow truck driver said, because he's dead. When the women burst into tears, the driver then tried to comfort her.  


Rest in Peace Jimmy James

Jimmy James with painting done by a local artist of his niece who died in a car accident. Photo by David Healey July 2010

Jimmy James lived in Venice for seventeen years. Rest in Peace Jimmy James

UPDATE: Memorial for Jimmy James at Dudley and Ocean Walk, Venice, CA Dec. 4, 2010

Memorial for Jimmy James at Dudley and Ocean Walk, Venice, CA Dec. 4, 2010

UPDATE: We now know his legal name was James Hunter. See also this L.A. Times story.

Originally posted to Linux Beach on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 05:37 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site