Mourners gather at vigil for slain Pasadena boy as officials promise help

Ten white crosses had been planted within the grass at Villa-Parke Neighborhood Middle in Pasadena, representing lives misplaced to gun violence.

One cross at the entrance — propped in opposition to a vase of blue and white flowers — bore the identify of the most recent sufferer, 13-year-old Iran Moreno.

Two days after a bullet careened by means of Iran’s bed room window and killed him whereas he was taking part in video video games, greater than 100 individuals, together with residents, metropolis leaders and law enforcement officials, gathered for a vigil.

Many held small flameless candles and listened as musicians performed, “Te vas ángel mío” or “You’re leaving, my angel.” Youngsters who went to highschool with Moreno held arms round each other in consolation.

“I can’t let you know how a lot it pains me to be right here. This can be a place that no mum or dad ought to ever be in,” Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo informed the gathered crowd. “We now have to do issues in another way in Pasadena.”

The vigil adopted pledges from authorities to bolster police patrols and attempt to get weapons off the road.

Within the final two years, the Pasadena Police Division has confiscated greater than 700 firearms, many from autos, waistbands and from residences as a results of search warrants, Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody mentioned at a information convention on the steps of Metropolis Corridor. Of these, 250 have been seized since January 2021.

“The specter of gun violence is a real hazard, and the Pasadena Police Division is working diligently to get weapons off the streets and out of the palms of those that intend to hurt others,” Moody mentioned. The division will proceed in its dedication to deliver on further patrols and intelligence gathering, “to fight this rash of shootings.”

“However we want your help,” she mentioned. “We imagine that there are individuals in the neighborhood and elsewhere that will have data and should help to cease the violence and convey these accountable to justice. We ask that you just please come ahead.”

Police imagine {that a} stray bullet struck Iran when he was in his bed room about 6 p.m. Saturday. He managed to stumble out of his room, clutching the wound, after which collapsed, relations mentioned.

Iran was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital, the place he was pronounced useless.

For 2 days, Pasadena law enforcement officials have been working to search out proof or data that would result in the shooter.

Investigators don’t imagine Iran or his household had been focused.

“This was not the meant sufferer,” Moody mentioned. “This was not the meant dwelling. We don’t know who they had been taking pictures at or why.”

Residents of the Villa Parke neighborhood of Pasadena plant white crosses into the bottom for Iran Moreno, 13.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Occasions)

On Monday afternoon, 27-year-old Maria Balvaneda, Iran’s cousin, stood together with her palms clasped in entrance of dozens of flickering candles that shaped a rising memorial for the boy. The household has lived in Pasadena for about 15 years.

Balvaneda lives in a rear home on the identical property as Iran and his mother and father.

She informed The Occasions that on the night of taking pictures, she heard two pops she thought had been fireworks. She’d been on the brink of exit together with her mother and father to a household gathering when her mom seen flashing lights.

She stepped outdoors and noticed her aunt and uncle standing by a tree. They informed her Iran was shot and on his solution to the hospital. She tried to console them, however her uncle was notably shaken.

“My son died in my arms,” she recalled her uncle saying. “I do know he’s gone.”

On Monday, Iran’s mother and father and siblings had been scuffling with the loss, Balvaneda mentioned. Her uncle hasn’t needed to eat and might’t stand up on his personal.

“All they’ve been doing is crying, him asking for his son, to deliver his child again,” she mentioned. “It’s simply very heartbreaking.”

Residents in masks gather at a vigil

Pasadena residents attend a vigil for Iran Moreno on Monday night time.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Occasions)

Iran, she mentioned, “had a fantastic future forward of him.” He beloved basketball and soccer and excelled at faculty. He had three siblings and was the youngest boy.

She lamented the violence: “There’s all the time taking pictures, all the time gang violence round. They’re all the time hurting probably the most harmless individuals.”

Gordo, talking Monday outdoors Metropolis Corridor, pledged to “do issues in another way.”

“We will’t proceed to take the identical method to public security on this metropolis or within the area and anticipate completely different outcomes,” Gordo mentioned.

The mayor mentioned officials just lately known as on the Police Division to step up enforcement and enhance the variety of officers on the road.

“I renew my request that the Pasadena Police Division higher and extra completely interact people who’re engaged in gang exercise and felony exercise all through town,” he mentioned. “It has to begin proper right here, proper now. We can not wait for one other youngster or one other member of this group to be harmed.”

Councilmember Jessica Rivas, whose district has been affected by shootings, mentioned “we are able to’t police ourselves out of this.”

“This can be a a lot bigger downside, and it’s one which we should remedy,” Rivas mentioned.

On the vigil, attendees held indicators that learn “group unity” and “shield our youngsters.”

Iran’s household didn’t converse, and the group held up candles as they noticed a second of silence in honor of the teenager.

“We wish to keep in mind Iran not simply as a statistic or a quantity, however for who he was,” Jose Madera, a Pasadena resident, informed the group. “He’s our rose. Our Pasadena rose.”

Audio system at the vigil urged metropolis leaders to make sure that the Moreno household be taken care of, together with serving to them with funeral bills and remedy.

Mayor Gordo informed the group that, “we as a metropolis and our metropolis sources can be there for this younger man and his household.”

Many audio system cited the problem of violence in the neighborhood and urged residents to return collectively to unravel it.

“We don’t wish to see SWAT groups coming into our neighborhoods, persecuting, going after younger males, younger ladies of coloration,” mentioned Pablo Alvarado, co-executive director of the Nationwide Day Laborer Organizing Community, prompting the group to interrupt out in applause.

Alvarado mentioned the group desires the police to do their jobs, however “we additionally wish to see therapists, psychologists, social employees.”

Among the many youngsters gathered that night time was 13-year-old Sherry Villegas, who sat subsequent to Iran in science class. He used to help her with schoolwork, and the 2 would play tic-tac-toe collectively.

Tears streamed down her face and below her white masks as she listened to the musicians play.

“It type of shattered me loads and it broke me,” she mentioned. “It sucks, as a result of I really feel like I actually can’t be protected anyplace. Particularly in Pasadena.”

Occasions workers author Gregory Yee contributed to this report.

Mourners gather at vigil for slain Pasadena boy as officials promise help Source link Mourners gather at vigil for slain Pasadena boy as officials promise help

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