Another horrific shooting in the Northeast Valley has taken another youthful life full of promise.
People who knew Christian Camacho described him as “a free spirit,” someone who loved to dance, always with a smile on his face, and who had plenty of friends.
Camacho, 17, was looking forward to graduating from Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley. But his life was tragically cut short at a Valentine’s Day dance in Arleta.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Camacho got into a fight around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, at a house party along the 13400 block of Rangoon Street, near Canterbury Avenue.
Friends say Camacho was at the party with schoolmates when some people they didn’t know showed up.
A fight broke out later. Witnesses say Camacho won the fight and the attacker left, returning soon after with a gun, shooting him several times before fleeing in a dark-colored vehicle with another man and a woman inside.
Two other people were also wounded in the shooting. Both were treated at a hospital and released.
Neighbor Gloria Villalobos said she heard the screams of “help, help, help,” and added, “all (the party attendants) started running everywhere,” including to her home.
When police arrived at the house in response to a shots-fired call, they found Camacho lying on the ground in a rear driveway.
A makeshift altar with flowers, candles and loving messages now surround a tree. A photo of Camacho shows a slim, bespectacled boy dressed in a tuxedo.
Humble, Social Guy
“He didn’t even make it to 18,” said Maribel Rincon, a friend of Camacho, who, amid tears, described him as a “free spirit” who was never bothered by people’s negative comments.
“I’m so sad that you’re not here with your friends and family no more. My heart’s completely shattered, and i just want to hug you camacho. You’ve been there for me, through so much. The only thing that comforts me is knowing that you’re safe up there in heaven (sic),” she wrote on Twitter, which is full of heartfelt messages expressing sadness over Camacho’s passing.
There is also anger over a senseless tragedy.
“The fact that you can’t even go out to a party and just have a good time without worrying about (expletive) like that is sad, rest easy our new angel,” wrote Paola Jimenez.
Jesus Pizano, one of Camacho’s closest friends, said he couldn’t believe it when someone called him to let him know about the shooting and his friend’s death.
“We always did everything together. It makes me sad that if there’s a party he won’t be there,” Pizano said.
“He was like a brother to me. He was never shy. He was always social with everybody.”
Camacho was the oldest of three brothers, and his death is even more tragic because his dad had passed away just a few weeks ago, friends said.
LAPD Valley Bureau homicide detectives are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call them at (818) 374-1925.
Friends have also opened a GoFundMe account trying to raise funds for Camacho’s funeral expenses. To make a donation, visit https://bit.ly/2SwZSKT.