Police are looking for two suspects who shot and killed a community volunteer as he was leaving an anti-gang violence event in Wilmington Thursday night.
The shooting was reported around 10:15 p.m. near Bay View Avenue and West D Street.
The victim, identified as Jose Refugio Quezada, 46, was leaving the Summer Night Lights event at the Wilmington Recreation Center when the suspects drove up to the scene in a car and shot him, officials said.
“Our victim, who was a cook here, just exited and was here on the street when he was approached by unknown suspects who fired rounds at him,” said Los Angeles Police Department Captain Keith Green.
Witnesses called authorities, who arrived to find Quezada on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Everything just happened so fast,” said Sandy Delamora, Quezada’s widow. “We just heard gunshots and we ran and the next thing you know, he’s gone. They didn’t let me get near him.”
The two young shooters, who police believe are gang members, were wearing all-black clothing and left the scene in a getaway vehicle. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive.
The Summer Night Lights event operates in more than 40 Los Angeles area parks and recreation centers to promote anti-gang violence and turn them into safe havens for families.
Quezada, who grew up in Wilmington was well-known in the community and committed to keeping kids away from drugs and gangs. At the event, he had volunteered to run the barbecue.
“He was loved by all the community,” Delamora said. “Everybody knew Jose, everybody knew Coach. That’s what he was called, Coach. He was just such a loving person. He wanted to help everybody who was in need.”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass offered condolences to Quezada’s family.
“He was an active community volunteer, coach, father, husband and worked to ensure his community was safe, and to help those who had lost loved ones due to violence,” Bass said in a statement. “This incident is a tragic reminder that we must fight even harder to ensure that our communities have the tools that they need to stop this senseless violence.”
A GoFundMe account has been established to help Quezada’s family pay for funeral expenses. Quezada is survived by his wife and three young sons.
Anyone with information was urged to call LAPD Detective Saucedo and Detective Scott at 323-786-5163 or 323-786-5150.