Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2017

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We will solve this case’: Vigil honors beloved Las Vegas teen slain a year ago

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Steve Marcus

Esau Herrera, center, a member of the Aguilas Centro Familiar Cristiano church, helps lead a march for slain teen Jose de Jesus Alatorre Guzman in a central Las Vegas neighborhood Monday, May 15, 2017.

Vigil and March for Slain Teen

A family friend holds a portrait of slain teen Jose de Jesus Alatorre Guzman during a march and vigil in a neighborhood near Decatur Boulevard and Bonanza Road Monday, May 15, 2017. Alatorre Guzman, 19, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on May 11, 2016. The case is yet unsolved. Launch slideshow »

With their hands held high, about 70 marchers took to a central valley neighborhood’s streets Monday evening, offering prayers, support and a promise to the family of a slain Las Vegas teen that his killer would soon be found.

“I make this pledge to you: We will solve this case and bring justice for Jose,” said Capt. Robert Plummer of Metro Police’s Bolden Area Command, following a mile-long march around the intersection of North Minnesota Street and Kansas Avenue — near Decatur Boulevard and U.S. 95 — in memory of 19-year-old Jose de Jesus Alatorre Guzman.

On May 11, 2016, police say Alatorre Guzman was shot while walking on a nearby sidewalk by someone in a car that had pulled up next to him. An unknown suspect exited, shooting him in the stomach. Alatorre Guzman remained conscious long enough to call 911 and tell police what happened but died three days later when doctors took him off life support.

Standing at the corner of Minnesota and Kansas wearing shirts with his senior class portrait, the mother, brother and former girlfriend of Alatorre Guzman laughed and wept as they recalled the “caring, fun and lovable” former Western High School student.

They were joined by representatives from Metro Police, the Aguilas Centro Familiar Cristiano church as well as friends and former Western High instructors and neighbors, who also celebrated his legacy.

“It’s just beginning,” said Jose Alatorre Jr., Alatorre Guzman’s older brother. “The turnout tonight is one of many examples that show what kind of person he was.”

Click to enlarge photo

Jose De Jesus Alatorre Guzman

Monday’s march in Alatorre Guzman’s honor was led by turquoise shirt-clad Aguilas members shouting prayers in English and Spanish. The Christian church group of about 20 prayed aloud for peace in the community and for its families while neighborhood on-lookers recorded with cellphones outside their front doors.

Over a dozen marchers also held signs of Alatorre Guzman’s senior portrait, hoping that bringing attention to his death over a year after police say he was shot would help restart the conversation among those who might know the identity of his killer. Metro has yet to publicly identify any suspects, and a billboard on Interstate 15 implores those with information on the case to call police.

“This case is at the top of our list,” Metro Sgt. David Watts told marchers. “Someone out there has a secret and knows something.”

“Please, whoever knows, please call,” Watts added.

Alatorre Guzman’s mother, Edith Guzman, said in Spanish she’d “continue to fight” until her son’s killer was brought to justice. Speaking over a microphone, she urged marchers to “speak up” if they knew something.

Finding her son’s killer would not only bring closure to the community but prevent that person from victimizing anyone else.

“We have to raise our voices and wake up,” Guzman said.