South Bend, Ind. Friends and family of Francisco Javier Guzman gathered Thursday to remember the 22-year-old who was shot and killed earlier this month in front of his own home.
Guzman died of a gunshot wound to the chest the night of August 3. It happened on the 4400-block of Huron Circle. An autopsy ruled his death a homicide.
‘His death left us empty,” said the victim’s sister, Brenda Rodriguez. “We need to stop the killing. This left our family broken and hurting.”
Dozens of people gathered to pray and remember Guzman, who left behind a one-year-old son. His girlfriend is expecting the couple’s second child, due in September.
Metro Homicide is continuing to investigate the shooting; no one has been arrested in connection with Guzman’s death.
“They didn’t just take anyone,” said Guzman’s sister, Jasmine Rodriguez. “They took a brother, an uncle, a son, and a father. So we're just hoping that we find the person who did this.”
Guzman’s mother said the vigil was an opportunity for some healing. Residents gathered to pray, hold hands and offer their condolences to the family.
“I never knew until today how much my son was loved,” said Josefina Guzman.
Guzman's mother also called for justice for her son.
"I forgive you for what you did because you didnt know what you were doing, but you left me with my life empty," she said. "Whoever killed my son, you left my heart broken."
Guzman served as the primary provider for his son and girlfriend. To help support them – and the baby on the way – the family has organized a benefit for August 23. It will take place at Navarro’s Car Wash at 1804 Lincolnway West and will run from 11:00 -6:00pm. Car washes and haircuts will be offered and all proceeds will go to the family Guzman left behind.