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Emotional vigil held for 'Bobby' Salcedo

January 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
At least 2,500 people packed into Viking Stadium at Mountain View High School to honor a former student, a former teacher and a local leader whose life came to a very violent and tragic end.It really was a celebration Monday night, focusing on Roberto "Bobby" Salcedo's legacy. But there were also calls for justice.

"Write your congressman, senators, write the White House. Let them know we want the situation investigated, we want justice for Bobby. That's the only way anything is going to happen," said Juan Salcedo, Bobby's brother, speaking before the assembled crowd.

Bobby Salcedo has a long service of history in El Monte. He was a boy scout, the ASB president at Mountain View High School, a teacher and an administrator. His career was very much on the rise when at age 33, he was kidnapped and murdered in Mexico.

"Bobby was truly dedicated to the City of El Monte and the students here at El Monte High School and the district to accomplish things so the students here would have a better life," described Keith Richardson, the principal of El Monte High School.

Bobby Salcedo's office sits empty. Just weeks ago, Salcedo, the vice principal of instruction and curriculum was planning a holiday trip to his wife's hometown, Gomez Palacio, in the state of Durango, which is 300 miles south of the Texas border, where new video shows Mexican Federal Police stood armed for combat with the drug gangs.

Salcedo and his wife were at a restaurant when gunmen burst in and kidnapped Salcedo and five other innocent men.

Their bodies were found later, shot execution-style.

Earlier in December, police stations in Durango had been attacked with grenades. Within Hours of Salcedo's death, two detectives were murdered.

Salcedo's family is left stunned.

"Right now, I am focusing on remembering my brother for the person he was," said Carlos, Salcedo's brother.

Salcedo had just won re-election on the El Monte City School District Board. He was finishing his doctorate at UCLA focusing on factors determining Hispanic achievement.

A tribute to Salcedo posted on YouTube has been viewed more than 600 times. His former students call him an inspiration.

"It is a tragedy. Words cannot describe how we are feeling, but as educators, we know that we need to follow through and continue on," said Richardson. "In his memory, he would want it. He would want the students to strive to be the best that they can be."

A funeral is planned for Thursday.