The family of Steven Reyes, a Highland Park liquor store clerk killed last week attempting to stop shoplifters from stealing a case of beer, gathered to remember their loved one just steps from where he died.
“My family forgives you for what you did. Maybe it was a mistake what you did, but please turn yourself in,” were the words that Nelly Reyes, the victim’s daughter, had for the teenage suspects in the case.
The incident occurred on Oct. 6, just before 7 p.m. in the 100 block of East Avenue 40, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Four teens between the ages of 15 and 18 years old tried to steal multiple items from the store. When Reyes tried to stop one of them from taking a case of beer, he was struck in the head with a scooter, police said.
The 68-year-old collapsed in front of the store. Good Samaritans tried to help, but Reyes later died at the hospital.
“I would like for people to just remember him, you know, as just your everyday Filipino uncle, your everyday Filipino dad,” the victim’s daughter told KTLA.
Kaycie Reyes, another of the victim’s daughters, said her father, as an immigrant, embodied the American dream, doing the best he could with a limited education and trying to make an honest living.
“As far as I’m concerned, my dad definitely died a hero, you know, trying to do the right thing. It could have been the store owner that was in his place, but it just happened that it was my dad,” she said.
The family said that they are in constant communication with LAPD detectives and are hopeful that investigators will track down those responsible for the killing.
Nelly, though, said there is still time for the teens to do the right thing.
“Turn yourselves in because it would really help my family gain some better peace, so that we can move on from this,” she said.
A GoFundMe page for the family has raised more than $40,000. Reyes’ daughter said she’s thankful for the community support and that the money will help them cover medical expenses and funeral costs.