Hundreds honor man killed at violence-prevention event in Wilmington: 'He was a beacon of light'

Michelle Fisher Image
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Hundreds honor man killed at violence-prevention event in Wilmington
"Everybody who has asked me about him ... they can't believe it," said the victim's brother.

WILMINGTON, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It was a somber Friday night in Wilmington as hundreds of people gathered to remember a Carson man who was shot and killed while he was volunteering at a violence-prevention event.

Jose Quezada, 46, was working at the "Summer Night Lights" event when he was killed just a few yards away from the venue, Los Angeles police said.

Police said he had no criminal history or gang ties and was a pillar of the community.

"He was like this beacon of light and I loved it," said a friend of Quezada's named Chuey. He had been friends with Quezada for 27 years and received the news of his death on Friday.

"I fell apart," said Chuey. "He's just one of those guys that will ... when you're down, he'll lift you back up with, whether it be something funny ... he always had the right words."

The shooting took place on the sidewalk outside the event space once it had ended. Police said a number of community volunteers walked to the corner on the sidewalk when two suspects confronted them. For an unknown reason, the suspects shot multiple rounds in Quezada's direction.

A man was shot and killed near an evening event in Wilmington that was intended to prevent violence, Los Angeles police said.

The suspects remain at large.

"Everybody who has asked me about him ... they can't believe it," said Quezada's brother, Juan Quezada. "They are like, you know, 'Why him?' He was always so dedicated with the community."

Earlier on Friday, LAPD Capt. Brent McGuyre told reporters he met Quezada about 90 minutes before the shooting.

"From all accounts from people within the community was that he was just a pillar of the community," he said. "Someone that we love to have in the community and someone who was out here volunteering his time to make his community better. To have that ripped away by what we believe to be gang-related violence is just very tragic."

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement on the shooting as well, saying, in part:

"Last night a dedicated Wilmington Community member and someone who has volunteered with Summer Night Lights to uplift his community was killed in a horrific act of violence. This community leader lost his life to the very type of violence he was working so hard to prevent. I join his loved ones in grieving his loss."

Quezada leaves behind by his wife and three sons. He even worked as a sports coach.

"People that were victims of the same thing that happened to him, he was always having fundraisers for their families," said Mike Herrera, a friend of the victim. "Not just gang violence, but maybe a car wreck or somebody that died of cancer. He always led the groups that helped raise money to help people pay for funerals or help them out. Just a real loss for this community."

Summer Night Lights events are organized by the mayor's Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development. They are described on the GRYD's website as creating "safe environments during the peak times for gang related violence. This is accomplished by providing free meals, extended programming and sports leagues, along with safe space for recreation, community engagement, employment opportunities, and linkages to local resources."

A GoFundMe account has been made to help Quezada's family pay for funeral expenses.