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Volunteer is killed at Wilmington event meant to prevent violence


A volunteer was shot and killed Thursday night at a Summer Night Lights event in Wilmington, a community program meant to curb gang violence, police said.

Jose Refugio Quezada was volunteering at the event at the Wilmington Recreation Center in the 300 block of North Neptune Avenue when at least one armed person walked toward the park, firing several gunshots, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Quezada, 46, was struck by the gunfire. Paramedics with the Los Angeles Fire Department tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

“This community leader lost his life to the very type of violence he was working so hard to prevent,” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. The shooting “is a tragic reminder that we must fight even harder to ensure that our communities have the tools that they need to stop this senseless violence.”

No arrests have been made.

The attacker, or attackers, arrived and left the center in an unknown vehicle, police said. There are currently no leads on the identity of the shooter or the motive for the shooting.

In her statement, Bass described Quezada as a father, coach and husband who “worked to ensure his community was safe.”

Launched in 2008, Summer Night Lights is a city program that provides community events, including free food, sports and activities, in neighborhoods harmed by violence.

This year, events are being hosted in 44 locations throughout the city of Los Angeles from 7 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Los Angeles Councilman Tim McOsker said in a statement that Quezada was barbecuing for families at the event at the time of the shooting.

“Horrific acts like this attempt to break the … community apart,” McOsker said, “but we won’t let it.”

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