Family and Friends Gather to Say Mass for Juan Jose Barajas
Early Monday evening, Fatima Barajas is sitting with cousins and friends who also come from Michoacan, where her father and uncle were born.
Their chairs push up against the beds in the room that doubles as a living and sleeping area in the family's apartment.
The mass for her father, will begin shortly in the backyard.
A priest from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will lead it.
Daughter Is the Eldest of Four Children
Fatima, 17, is a senior at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex near downtown Los Angeles.
She is a star student.
Her brother Juan, 14, also attends Miguel Contreras.
Her two younger sisters do not yet attend school.
Fatmina recognizes me from the recent Echo Park Holiday Parade, where she marched and performed with the Miguel Contreras Drill Team.
Fatima speaks for mother Maricruz today, who is in the kitchen cooking.
Family Is Confused About Motive for Killing
Fatima tells me that there is nothing about her father's death that makes sense.
He was not affiliated with a gang and has lived 25 years in the neighborhood just south of Belmont High since he and his father came to America.
It is an immigrant neighborhood plagued by gang violence. But Fatima says her father never was part of the gangs or the violence.
Barajas worked as a cashier in the Farmers Insurance headquarters cafeteria at 4680 Wilshire Blvd. to support his family.
His mother, father and brother also live nearby.
They all attend Immaculate Conception catholic church on 9th Street.
Friends from the church have helped set up a shrine at one end of the concrete backyard behind the apartment on Witmer Street where the Barajas famiy lives.
There are also rows of chairs--many already filled--as people file in for the mass that will soon begin.
Family and Friends Have Been Gathering Since Saturday
According to Fatima, folks have been gathering since Saturday, consoling the family members, and bringing food and prayer.
She says her mother went by the Rampart station earlier Monday, but didn't have much new news to bring back.
According to Sgt. Quintero, a homicide detectives at Rampart, officers have been in neighborhood interviewing and observing, but no suspect or motive has been identified.
He says officers are as shocked about the killing too.
Meantime, Fatima, her mother, her brother and her sisters will spend Christmas with their uncle, who lives just one street over on Lucas.
If you have information to share, you can call Chris Linscomb, the detective in charge of the case, at (213) 484-3642.
An earlier version of this story stated that Juan Jose Barajas worked at All State insurance. We stand corrected. It was Farmers, as the article now reflects.