Just hours before his vigil, the mother of a 19-year-old U.S. Marine shot in the head while on weekend leave in Los Angeles pleaded for help in finding his killer as authorities announced a $50,000 reward.
Lance Cpl. Carlos Segovia Lopez died at a hospital Monday night, according to the coroner's office. The Marine had been on life support since he was found Friday night slumped over in the driver's seat of his car in South Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Police Department announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
No suspects were identified, but now investigators think the motive may have been a result of Lopez witnessing potentially illegal activity.
"It appears that he might have observed a crime or something suspicious in progress," said LAPD Capt. Peter Whittingham. "And on account of that, now his mother, his father, his siblings, friends and all of us are grieving his death."
Family and friends described Lopez as a caring young man who served his community, whether it was through volunteer groups or military service.
"He's a loving boy," his mother, Sandra Lopez, said. "Really I don't understand this person who, who shot him. The only way that we can stop crime, is that we need to speak up."
He was visiting family and friends while on leave from Camp Pendleton near San Diego. The Marine had spent time with his girlfriend and was on his way to Perez's home, where he usually stays while in Los Angeles, when he was struck by gunfire, she said.
"He texted my son that he was bringing pizza home. He never made it," Perez said.
A vehicle pulled up beside the Marine's car, and at least one person opened fire, striking him once in the head, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said Monday. He was not in uniform.
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"At this point, it's absolutely a mystery," LAPD Capt. Peter Whittingham told the Los Angeles Times. "Like so many cases in South L.A., we have nothing to go on at this point."
Lopez was born in El Salvador and came to the U.S. with his mother. Both are U.S. citizens, said Claudia Perez of LA Cloud9, a community organization with which Lopez worked.
He joined the Marines about six months ago.
Segovia worked with LA on Cloud9, helping to develop the Teen Project program and supporting the homeless community through Street Team Soldiers, according to the organization.
A statement from the School of Infantry-West and USMC Training Command remembered the Marine.
"The news of Lance Cpl. Carlos Segovialopez's death weighs heavily on our hearts. The Marine Corps extends its deepest condolences to his family and friends as they deal with their loss. The overwhelming support and prayers we witnessed in support of this young man are a testament to the mighty son, friend and warrior that he was. Although we grieve the loss of one of our own, we will continue to stand with and support Carlos' loved ones as they work through this tragedy. In a very short time, LCpl Segovialopez deeply impacted those who came to know him and his unselfish and honorable legacy will live on in our Corps. Once a Marine, always a Marine."
He also was a junior counselor for children in South Los Angeles through the USC Troy Camp.