A group of relatives and friends gathered Jan. 19 in the parking lot of the Carl’s Jr. restaurant near the corner of Rinaldi Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, washing cars to raise funds for the funeral of Anthony Lopez II, a young man who was killed in Pacoima under circumstances that are still not completely clear.
“He was an outgoing person, always making jokes, a caring person all around,” said Victoria Lopez, a cousin. She said Lopez II, a former San Fernando High School student, was in “between jobs” and had been in “Boot Camp.”
Lopez II, 20, of Mission Hills was the oldest of four children that include two sisters and one brother.
Police are seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect or suspects in the fatal shooting of Lopez II, who was sitting in his vehicle in Pacoima. LAPD detectives continue to investigate; a spokesman said there was no new information available at this time.
Police found Lopez II, near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Vaughn Street at approximately 10 p.m. on Jan. 13, suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police reported.
Detectives said the shooting occurred near the intersection of Bromont Street and Fielding Avenue. Lopez II was shot following an altercation with several suspects, who fled on foot. He was able to drive the car to the area of Foothill and Vaughn, where a passerby spotted him and called 9-1-1, according to the police.
The motive for the shooting is unknown.
The Site of the Killing
The area where Police say Lopez II was shot is a deserted stretch of land, flanked on one side by the 118 Freeway and on the other side by tall home fences. Even in the middle of the day, few people pass by.
A sign at the corner says there is video surveillance to prevent dumping of large items in the area and perhaps that’s how police have determined he was shot there.
“We don’t know what he was doing there,” Victoria said. She added that if the police have video of the killing, “We haven’t been notified.”
After being shot, Lopez II still managed to drive 0.3 miles until he stopped his car near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Vaughn Street.
“He stopped, got out of the car and then collapsed on the street,” according to a woman who works in a food truck that parks nearby. “I guess he couldn’t go any further and that’s where he stopped.”
Somebody eating there apparently called 9-1-1. Police showed up before the paramedics did. The woman said she believed Lopez II was still alive when he was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Blood stains were still visible the next day where Lopez II collapsed, she said.
A makeshift altar of flowers, candles and loving messages for Lopez is wrapped around a tree and a light post.
“I love you Lil Tony. Thank you for always being there for me and Destiny!!! Watch over all of us, Justina,” reads one of the messages.
“I love you brother. You will always be with me. I’m going to live for you. We had plans for the future and you will come along with me. I love you, your sister Terry-Berry,” reads another.
A note by “Pauly” says that he will miss playing basketball with him at Las Palmas Park.
GoFundMe Account Established
A GoFundMe account (https://bit.ly/370HVct) has been created to raise funeral funds for Lopez II. At press time, more than $5,000 had been raised out of a $35,000 goal.
“On Sunday night we received unbearable news that our loving Lil Tony was fighting for his life. On Monday morning our SonnyBoy went to be God’s Angel. Lil Tony was a loving son to his parents and a loving big brother to his siblings, always ensuring his family was taken care of,” reads the message on the GoFundMe account.
“He was such a kind-hearted person who always put everyone before himself. If you knew Lil Tony, you knew he had the most contagious laugh, and a smile that no one could ever forget. He was ambitious, humble, and fearless with all his faith knowing God was always by his side. Lil Tony opened his arms to God last year and we couldn’t be any happier because we know he will be up in heaven watching over us all. We miss him terribly, and weren’t prepared for any of this,” the account said.
Victoria, with other relatives and friends, were doing their part to raise money as they washed car after car in the parking lot of the fast food restaurant.
She said the killing of Lopez II has devastated the entire family.
“It’s really hard. He was really close to all of his cousins,” Victoria said.
“The mom and dad, they’ve taken it especially hard.”