Family Gathering Turns into Double Tragedy

Jesus Lopez (left) and his nephew Ivan Flores, who were both killed when a group of men opened fire the afternoon of Sunday June 14 at a home in the 12900 block of Borden Avenue in Sylmar

The anguish could be heard all the way to the street.

Overwhelmed by tears, Mark Lopez asked “¿Por qué Diosito por qué?” (“Why God, why?”) while relatives try to console him.

His cries embodied the grief of an entire family now trying to find solace amidst a tragedy they can’t understand.

On June 14, just before 7 p.m., the Lopez family was gathered at the home of Jesus Lopez, Mark’s father, along the 12900 block of Borden Avenue, in the vicinity of Sylmar High School.

They had held a yard sale that day and were simply enjoying a good time afterwards on a sunny and bright afternoon.

“We had just finished closing. I went to get some pizzas and when I came back we ate together and I told him (my dad) ‘I’d  be right back,’” Mark recalled.

He went inside the house and then he heard the bullets.

“There were five shots first, and then they just let it all loose,” Mark said.

One of those bullets struck his father in the head, killing him instantly. Jesus had been sitting inside his front yard with his back to the street.

Two of Jesus’ nephews, Ivan Flores and Carlos Huerta were also shot. Ivan was taken to the hospital in grave condition, and later died. Carlos was shot in the leg and survived.

Los Angeles Police Commander Joseph Kaylin described the suspects as “three male Blacks in dark clothing [who] approached the house and the shooting occurred.”

“We have no information on motive or if they knew each other,” Kaylin said.

“Hardworking, Family Man”

Mark said they had seen the car — describing a burgundy or red Dodge Charger — drive by slowly in front of the house just prior to the shooting.

“They did a U-turn (on Raven Street) and the vehicle parked right in front of the house driveway,” he said.

The driver stayed in the car while three African-American men (all wearing red-hooded sweatshirts and bandanas) got out of the car and approached the metal fence. “One of them even got on the fence and started shooting downwards towards (his dad),” Mark said.

Another suspect went by the gate and they began shooting at the 10 or so persons sitting around the yard.

Then,“they just got in the car and turned on Sayre Street (towards Foothill Boulevard),” Mark said.

The double tragedy has left the family in shambles.

They set up a GoFundMe Account (https://bit.ly/2YAV7Sw) to try to raise funds to cover the funeral costs for Jesus Lopez, who was born in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico, worked in the catering business for the motion picture industry, had been married for 25 years, and leaves behind three children, ages 21, 20 and 13.

Mark described his father as a man who “went from home to work and work to home. He was a humble, hardworking family man who minded his own business.”

The family has lived in the house for almost 18 years, and said they’ve never had any problems with anyone.

“We don’t understand how this could happen,” said Elizabeth Flores, Jesus’ sister-in-law.

Protects His Daughter

Carlos Huerta had his 10-month-old daughter on his lap and threw himself on the floor to protect the baby when the shooting began. “Who does that?” Flores asks, in reference to people who open fire indiscriminately on innocent people and babies.

Ivan Flores, 30, worked two warehouse jobs and “loved horses,” family members said.

“We’re rancheros,” Flores said, noting there is nothing even remotely linking them to gangs or problems of any kind.

“We’re a big family. This is a huge loss.The devastation of the Lopez family is so great,” she adds.

Now two elderly mothers in Mexico are getting ready to travel to the United States to bury their sons.

“We don’t know what to think of it,” said Flores, who can’t understand what prompted the shooting.

“We don’t know if it’s just random, mistaken identity or what.

“Do people have to be scared to live here now?” she asks.

Flores thanked neighbors who have been bringing food and water, and offering their condolences to the family gathered at the home to find solace amid the tragedy. She also thanked the Los Angeles Police Department, which had been in constant communication with them since the shooting.

“We’re very grateful to all of them for helping us in these crazy times,” she said.

Crazy times that leave a family with a heartache impossible to heal.

If you want to help the family with the funeral costs, visit https://bit.ly/2YAV7Sw. Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call the LAPD Mission Division station at (818) 838-9800. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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