He painted over graffiti to pay for daughter’s birthday and it cost him his life


LA Times

Sister of Jose Lopez holding his picture.

Juan Lopez left Nicaragua for the U.S. in hopes of escaping the violence plaguing the Central American nation.

But his life ended on the streets of Los Angeles when he was shot by a bullet while working to earn money so his daughter back in his home country could celebrate her ninth birthday.

On the day he died, Lopez, 39, was in a good mood because he had been offered a “trabajito,” a small job painting an ice cream shop with other men.

According to KTLA, his life had been hard for him in Los Angeles; he had struggled to find work as a painter and was living with his sister in a small apartment in Northridge, sleeping on a cot in her living room. He missed his three children – Brittany, 9; Johan, 12; and Edward, 13 – whom he’d left in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

His daughter Brittany’s ninth birthday was on April 15–-the same day he had been offered a painting job, and he couldn’t wait to send the money back to Nicaragua.

According to the LA Times, “He was so happy because he was going to earn that money to send his girl to buy the cake,” said Ruth Lopez Suarez, Juan Lopez’s sister. He woke up at 7a.m, shaved, showered, made his bed, and he left again.” Juan’s sister said. “Juan sought a better life and worked to support his young family in Nicaragua.”  

According to Yahoo News, “Around noon, López was shot to death outside the ice cream shop on Parthenia Street in Northridge as he painted over gang graffiti, the police said. The alleged shooter had seen Lopez and other workers covering up the graffiti that he and his crew had tagged on the wall earlier that day and was so offended that he shot at the men, killing Lopez, he confessed to the police.”

The gang life is not something you should mess with. It can seem “cool” at first but it’s a dangerous life because you are not just putting your life in danger. You are also putting your family’s life in danger and there could also be consequences. 

Mr. Aleman said, “I had an uncle that served a lot of jail time and wishes he never was involved because he wasn’t able to see his son and spend time with him. He had to move away from Los Angeles to leave the gang life but that meant he had to leave his son and be away from his family and loved ones. It is just not worth it and it not only affects your life but the life of others around you.” 

If you want to have a good future or accomplish good things in your life you need to work hard if you want to achieve your goals. 

Being in a gang will not help you achieve your goals because you are going to do things that will get you nowhere and you are going to regret it. You are going to have criminal records and no one would want to hire a criminal.

 Mr. Aleman also said, “Gang violence can really affect your life and future. It may look cool to be a part of a group that might have your back but if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you or someone you care about can get hurt. That is not worth it if it is someone you love like a family member or significant other. You can also serve jail time and it can affect what you do with your life.”