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Family, friends mourn man shot by H.B. police

Vigil held to remember the life of Eric Marquez and pledge justice for him.

August 13, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Carlos Gutierrez, left, hugs Roseanne Maestas, as Amanda Peukert, right, looks on at the site of an officer-involved shooting near Sun View Elementary School in Huntington Beach on Aug. 3. A vigil was held for shooting victim Eric Marquez on Friday night.
Carlos Gutierrez, left, hugs Roseanne Maestas, as Amanda… (SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Memories were shared and tears shed during a Friday night vigil for a man shot and killed during an altercation with Huntington Beach police.

About 40 family members and friends gathered near Glencoe Drive and Silver Lane in Huntington Beach, where Eric Marquez, 26, of Orange, died Aug. 3.

They placed flowers and candles on the sidewalk around a picture of Marquez while consoling one another.

Nearby were two posters that read, "Eric we love you and [you] will be missed by all family and friends. Now that you're in heaven, watch over all of us and all victims of police brutality."

Supporters contend that the police shooting of Marquez was unjustified. However, investigators allege that he fired several rounds at an officer.

"We're going to get justice for him, and we're not going to go away," said Amanda Peukert, Marquez's cousin. "A lot of the police-involved murders, people just let it go because he's Hispanic or looks like a gang member. We're not going to shut up; we're not going to let it go."

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The Huntington Beach officer who shot Marquez has not been identified. The officer approached a vehicle near Glencoe Drive and Silver Lane that was occupied by Marquez and another person, according to Lt. Mitch O'Brien of the Huntington Beach Police Department.

Police said the two exited the vehicle and fled. The officer chased Marquez down Glencoe until a confrontation between them resulted in the shooting, O'Brien said.

Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said Marquez fired multiple rounds from a handgun recovered at the scene.

Authorities are still looking for the other person who was in the car with Marquez that morning.

At the vigil, candles were passed around as the sunlight faded. Then, one by one, family members and friends shared stories of Marquez and how he had affected their lives.

His aunt Rosanne Maestas said her nephew was trying to get his life back on track after run-ins with authorities and a battle with drug addiction.

She said he was recently baptized and finished his construction classes at Taller San Jose, a nonprofit program based in Santa Ana that helps at-risk adults develop job skills and find work.

Meghan Medlin, an employee with the program who worked closely with Marquez since 2010, said she was one of the people he would turn to whenever he became flustered or needed help.

She brought to the vigil old emails from him briefing her on what he had been doing and what he saw as his goals.

"He had just come such a long way since we've met him," she said. "He was really trying."

Maestas said she moved 16 years ago from Los Angeles to Orange County to escape the gang environment. She then encouraged her sister to bring Marquez and the rest of her family, and they settled in Huntington Beach.

"I was worried that something would happen to them [in L.A.]," she said. "Lo and behold, it happened here."

She said her nephew was selfless, the person to whom others would turn.

"He would help anyone that asked him and he always had a kind word for people," Maestas said. "There were families in the community that would call him to talk with their young boys or girls that were kind of going off the beaten path."

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