Neighbors on Mitchell Avenue in Mar Vista will honor slain neighbor John Rocha with tree planting ceremonies from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 7th.

Rocha, age 39, was killed the morning of March 30th while confronting a car thief who was attempting to burglarize his car.

At about 3 a.m., Rocha, a grocery store manager, heard a commotion near his apartment carport in the 12600 block of Mitchell Avenue.

When he went outside to investigate, he encountered an armed man, who shot and killed him. The gunman has not been found.

To honor Rocha, his neighbors are working with the nonprofit TreePeople to plant trees on their street. The neighbors will plant 19 fern pine trees on the street, which is mostly barren of trees.

“We hope to bring the community closer together,” said volunteer Christina Lindhart. “John was a strong, brave, loving man, a father and a provider. “It was such a sorrowfully sad accident.

“We are planting trees in the place where trauma occurred as an act of purification and healing.”

TreePeople citizen forestry manager Lisa Cahill said the 19 trees planted in Mar Vista will count towards Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s citywide Million Trees initiative.

To volunteer for the October 7th planting, call Cahill at (818) 623-4840.