Elementary School on the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Bakman Street.
Hooper, a 25-year employee of the Burbank Department of Water and
Power, retired early from engineering in 1997 after suffering an aneurysm
that almost killed him, longtime friend Ed Scroggins said. Hooper decided
he was going to live life the way he wanted and start working with
children, Scroggins said.
Hooper's love for children was evident through his work with the Civil
Air Patrol, where he was a commander in the cadet program, serving youths
ages 13 to 18.
But Hooper thought being a crossing guard would be a good way to
interact with children every day, friend Rick Davis said.
Hooper loved the job he got a little more than a year ago through Los
Angeles City's Bureau of Parking Enforcement. But he hated the corner of
Magnolia and Bakman.
Armstrong, 43, said Hooper would get angry about the way people drove
on that busy street and couldn't understand why they wouldn't slow down.
"He was so afraid of that corner. He said he was going to Mass the
night before [his last shift], to pray for his safety," Armstrong said.
"I think he knew he was going to die."
Parents, teachers and crossing guards familiar with the intersection
thought it was only a matter of time before someone was hurt there.
"This is a blind corner. You can't see anything," said Lela Nowak, a
crossing guard who also works the corner outside of Lankershim Elementary
Nowak, a longtime friend of Hooper's, said she never stands on the
southeast corner -- where Hooper was hit -- because it is too close to
After hearing the tragic news, Nowak was one of many people calling
for a solution to the deadly traffic problem. Among the flowers and cards
remembering Hooper were signs asking for a stoplight and for people to
slow down. Armstrong also planned to join the fight for a light.
"He thought the job he did was so unimportant," Armstrong said. "It is
incredible to see so many people out to support him."
Los Angeles police said the 17-year-old motorist who hit Hooper was at
fault. But at press time it had not been decided if the youth -- who