Family and friends of a Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) worker who was shot and killed outside a Venice liquor store on Saturday, July 7th, gathered at the site of his death to say goodbye to him Saturday, July 14th.
Eric Lorenzo, 20, of South Los Angeles, was murdered by two unknown assailants outside Lincoln Liquor Locker in the 2400 block of Lincoln Boulevard.
The alleged gunmen then fled the scene in a car, driving east on Zanja Avenue, according to witnesses.
Lorenzo was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head Monday, July 9th..
On the day that he was killed, Lorenzo stopped at the liquor store to purchase water and juice for his mother, who was going to her second job in Venice. Upon leaving the store to return to his car, two men approached from behind and shot him several times, according to witnesses.
“Our family is devastated,” said Dionicia Robinson, Lorenzo’s cousin, who organized the candlelight vigil.
“He was a great employee,” said Juan Reyes, account supervisor at ASIG, an agency that subcontracts with the airport and who was Lorenzo’s immediate supervisor. “When he was here, he always gave 110 percent.”
Lorenzo worked as a ramp agent in the cargo department. He had been employed at the airport for two and a half years, according to airport records.
Reyes said that Lorenzo was planning to come back to work full-time soon because his girlfriend was expecting the couple’s child.
At the vigil, Lorenzo’s family and friends placed votive candles around a photograph of the victim, and Robinson led everyone in prayer.
The slain LAX worker’s mother, Celeste Lorenzo, was overcome with grief. She was in the store when her son walked out to his car, and instinctively crouched down after she heard several shots.
“I heard my other son screaming, ‘Mommy! Mommy! My brother got shot!” she said tearfully.
“Why did they have to kill him?” she asked. “My son was a good boy.”
“Eric was a good kid,” said Robinson, who last saw her cousin alive about three weeks ago. “He wasn’t involved with any gangs, and he stayed out of trouble.”
Detective Mike DePasquale of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Division said that to date police are still trying to locate the shooters.
“It’s hard to believe that there were no witnesses on a busy street, in broad daylight, on a Saturday afternoon,” said the detective.
Police believe that the shooters could be members of a gang and that Lorenzo’s murder could have been a case of mistaken identity.
Robinson, who works in Playa Vista, lamented the scourge of gang violence and reflected on the fact that after living in South Los Angeles all of his life, her cousin could be the victim of what he had always avoided.
“It makes no sense at all,” she said, shaking her head.
Celeste Lorenzo, a native of Belize, was adamant that her son was not involved in gangs.
“He was a good boy,” she repeated. “He always took care of his brothers and sisters. He took me to work, to both my jobs.
“My son was not a member of a gang.”
“I never heard about him being in any trouble,” Reyes added. “He was a good guy and a great employee.”
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose council district includes Venice, made a motion in City Council Tuesday, July 19th to authorize a $50,000 reward for information on Lorenzo’s murder.
“My hope is that this reward will bring witnesses forward for the sake of the victim’s family and the community at large,” the councilman said in statement. “We must find the person
responsible for this senseless death.”
“The person or persons responsible for this crime represent an ongoing threat to the safety of the people of Los Angeles,” the motion reads. “Therefore, it is appropriate for the City of Los Angeles to offer a reward for information leading to the apprehension, identification and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Eric Lorenzo.”
“Hopefully, that will shake something loose,” said DePasquale.
Anyone with information regarding Lorenzo’s murder may call (310) 482-6316. Callers may remain anonymous.
The victim’s family is determined to see that their loved one’s death will not go unpunished. “We are going to keep fighting until justice is served,” Robinson pledged.