LOS ANGELES — Relatives and community members are mourning the loss of a Filipino liquor store clerk who was attacked and killed during a robbery last week.
On Thursday night, Oct. 6, Steven Reyes — a 68-year-old Filipino immigrant who worked at Tony’s Market in Highland Park, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles — confronted several teenagers who were taking various items from the store.
In an attempt to stop them from stealing a case of beer, Reyes was struck on the head with a scooter before the suspects, described as two teenage boys and two teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 18, fled the scene.
Reyes was found unconscious on the sidewalk outside of the liquor store as good Samaritans tried to help him. He later succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital, according to the LA Police Department.
“I would like for people to just remember him, you know, as just your everyday Filipino uncle, your everyday Filipino dad,” Reyes’ daughter Nelle said during a vigil held outside of the store on Monday, Oct. 10.
His daughter remembered him for always doing the right thing.
The victim’s family started a GoFundMe page and paid tribute to Reyes who was a “son, a father, a brother, a good friend and a hard worker.”
“Steven had a loving heart and cared for everyone and always made sure that his family was safe,” the page continued.
The fundraiser has raised over $40,000, as of this writing, to cover medical expenses and funeral costs.
“His work ethics were incredible and he worked so hard to be able to care and support his mother,” the page added.
Reyes moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s with limited education and worked different types of jobs, including as a handyman, according to his daughter Kaycie Reyes. He also made money playing in pool tournaments, she said.
He lived with his elderly mother near the liquor store, where he began working earlier this year.
The suspects in Reyes’ case are still at large, as of press time.
“My family forgives you for what you did. Maybe it was a mistake what you did, but please turn yourself in,” Nelle Reyes said.
She added, “Turn yourselves in because it would really help my family gain some better peace, so that we can move on from this.”