Pilsen teen dies in shooting

July 27, 2009 8:53:47 PM PDT
Residents in the Pilsen neighborhood are rallying around a renowned artist whose son was murdered over the weekend.Jeff Maldonado, 19, was shot Saturday afternoon in the 1400-block of West 18th Street.

For the past two days, dozens of Pilsen young men and women have been out day and night raising money for their good friend's funeral. A day after he turned 19, Jeff Maldonado was killed just a few blocks from his home.

"My wife and I and he were going to go out and spend the afternoon together for his birthday. But he never made it home," said Jeff Maldonado Sr., father.

Jeff Maldonado Sr. says his only child was getting a ride home from his barber Saturday afternoon when someone walked up the barber's van and opened fire. Jeff Junior was hit in the head.

"My son was not in a gang. He was an artist. He was an artist and a musician. He didn't deserve this," said Jeff Maldonado Sr.

Maldonado says his son was a victim of mistaken identity. Marcelino Sauseda has been charged with the murder but Maldonado and his wife refuse to focus on the man who shot their son. Instead they are spending time with his friends who have come together to raise money, put up a mural and play the 19-year-old's music. Jeff Junior was an aspiring musician as well as an artist. Others say he was an inspiration.

"He inspired me to do lots of change in my life. I dropped out of high school. He motivated me to go back to school," said Luis Arreola, friend.

"The reason why we did this is because it feels like he did a lot for us and we need to give back. We need to give back to his family," said Joseph Delerosa, friend.

Jeff Maldonado's parents say what their son's friends are doing on a Pilsen corner is helping them get through the worst time of their lives.

"My heart is broken. And all of these young people, all of his friends are putting my heart back together again," said Jeff Maldonado Sr.


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