By Joe Piasecki
Mercedes Grille is collecting donations for a silent auction and memorial gathering that the restaurant will host on Monday to raise money for the wife and infant child of a worker who was stabbed to death after leaving his shift.
Baja Cantina, where the Mercedes Grille line cook worked a second job as a handyman, is holding a fundraiser for the family on Saturday.
Guillermo Carmona-Perez, 24, of Venice was found about 15 minutes after midnight on Nov. 18 at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Washington Boulevard and was pronounced dead at an area hospital, Los Angeles police Det. Steven Katz said.
Police have not been able to identify witnesses and will ask Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s office to authorize a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, Katz said.
Carmona-Perez, who also went by the nickname Memo, is remembered by coworkers as a gentle person who was dedicated to supporting his new family.
“Memo was a soft-spoken, sweet guy who always had a congenial smile on his face —just the nicest guy you could ever imagine. He was a good soul,” Mercedes Grille manager Mark Niklas said.
“We’re still shocked,” Niklas continued. Owner “Mercedes [Ahrablou] is beside herself at how sad it is that this child is going to grow up without his dad.”
Mercedes Grille, at 14 W. Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey, is hosting its silent auction fundraiser at 7 p.m. Monday and also donating the evening’s bar proceeds to Carmona-Perez’s family, Niklas said.
Baja Cantina, at 311 W. Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey, has set aside 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday as a time to remember Carmona-Perez and collect donations for his surviving family members, general manager Marcel Doumerc said.
“We’ve had a lot of people asking how they can help, so we’re setting aside a window where people can come down and donate,” he said.
Carmona-Perez had worked at Baja Cantina since he was 17. Owners Gina and Pat Phinny “had a fondness in their hearts for him,” Doumerc said.
Both restaurants have already received hundreds of dollars in donations for the family, the managers said.
“The outpouring so far has been beautiful,” Niklas said. “People have even been bringing diapers and clothes for baby. It shows the love and compassion that L.A. and Venice can have.”
Police are asking anyone with information about Carmona-Perez’s murder to contact police at (310) 382-9470.
For more information about how to donate items for Monday’s silent auction, call Mercedes Grille at (310) 827-6209. To help Baja Cantina’s effort, call (310) 821-2252.
Staff writer Gary Walker contributed to this story.