SAN DIEGO — The family of a 12-year-old boy struck and killed by a bullet on the evening of Thanksgiving in San Diego’s Skyline neighborhood is grieving his loss as local authorities are left searching for answers.
Outside of the family’s home on Cahill Drive sits a memorial bearing the image of Angel Domingo Gaspar Gallegos. Police say Gallegos was in the backyard of the home for a Nov. 25 gathering when he was hit in the upper torso by a stray bullet believed to have come from the east of where he was standing.
Paramedics rendered aid to Gallegos before he was taken to a local hospital, where he died, police said.
“You’re in the backyard,” his aunt Maria Gaspar Casillas said. “The safest place for your child to be to play. He’s not being exposed to vehicles in the street. He’s not doing any harm to anyone. He’s just hanging out.”
Gallegos, who attended Parkway Middle School in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, is being remembered by loved ones for his kindness, his love of flag football, and for his penchant for eating cereal. At a weekend vigil, his brother even left out a bowl of Lucky Charms for him because he wanted Gallegos to have his favorite dinner.
“Mom was saying that he wasn’t going to share because he never wanted to share his Lucky Charms,” Casillas said, “and always saved his marshmallows toward the end.”
His aunt also called him “one of the kindest, sweetest kids you’ll ever meet.”
San Diego police homicide detectives were called to the southeast San Diego neighborhood on the night of the incident and continue to investigate what led to the boy’s death. Investigators say the primary issues are determining the origin of the bullet as well as whether it was fired intentionally.
Anyone with information on the shooting is being asked to call the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477, where tipsters can remain anonymous.
Friends and strangers alike have been showing support by donating to a GoFundMe campaign for funeral expenses. They also have driven from all ends of the county to leave flowers, light candles and to pray. One man even drove from North County to leave flowers at the memorial site in a show of respect, a gesture Casillas said was “touching.”
Nothing will bring their Angel back, but his family members say answers will help them heal.
“Even if it was an accident, we understand accidents do happen,” Casillas said. “We just need to know. We want closure. He deserves justice.”