1 deadly day: names and lives behind gunshot stats

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In Long Beach, Calif., three men and a woman entered a mobile home at 4:30 p.m. and opened fire, killing Jose Luis Vidal, 24.

In San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood, Jamal Gaines, 26, died after being hit by multiple gunshots at 5:30.

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Rene Trejo worked hard as a bricklayer in Memphis, and loved soccer so much that he played on three different teams. But his sister-in-law says his plan was to move back to his homeland of Mexico, where he’d been sending money to help his impoverished mother open a restaurant.

The homecoming took place — but not as the family could have imagined. Trejo, 28, was killed in a nighttime robbery attempt on Jan. 19. His remains were sent back to San Luis Potosi for a funeral Mass and burial.

According to police, Trejo was in his car with two friends outside a Z-Market convenience store when three men approached and demanded money. One fired a shot that fatally wounded Trejo; no arrests have been reported.

Trejo, who was unmarried, came to the United States 10 years ago, followed two years later by his younger brother, Oscar, a roofer.

Oscar’s wife, Dora, said Rene was in the U.S. illegally, but added: “What he came here to do was to better his family and help out his mother.”

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In Rosewood, Fla., John Freddrick Alford, 63, died after being hit by buckshot fired by a youth with whom he was hunting wild hogs.

At about 10 p.m., the body of Hurbert Dewayne Jackson, 27, was found on a roadside in Little Rock, Ark., the victim of a shooting.

In Greenville, S.C., Edward Goldsmith, 47, was shot dead in an apartment complex parking lot.

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The obituary for Kristi Suckla, as posted by a Dallas-area funeral home, is strikingly brief.

“Kristi was born on December 5, 1968, and passed away on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Kristi was a resident of Grapevine, Texas.”

An accompanying video tribute, though wordless, conveyed much more — photographs of Suckla savoring vacations at the beach and in the mountains, grinning with her two children, and posing with her husband, Kelly.

There was no hint of the tragedy that unfolded that Saturday night at the Sweet 16 birthday party for the Sucklas’ daughter, Rachel.

“NoSpacing”>Though the couple was estranged, and Kristi was living at her parents’ house with her children, Kelly Suckla had been expected to attend the party, according to police.

For reasons not yet publicly disclosed, an argument broke out around 10 p.m. Police say Kelly Suckla fatally shot Kristi with a handgun, then killed himself.

The obituary for Kelly Suckla, 43, described him as a devoted father, but made no mention of Kristi. “Everyone who knew Kelly knew of his love for his family and his friends,” it said.

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Around 9:45 p.m., in California’s Tulare County, Osevio Lopez, 34, was found by highway patrol officers in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, fatally wounded by a shot to the head.

In the El Sereno community of Los Angeles, Angel Serna Mancilla, 27 was fatally wounded by gunfire during an argument at a taco truck.

In Picayune, Miss., Nickoles Ray Sullivan, 33, was shot dead outside his home. His live-in girlfriend was charged with murder.

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By all accounts, David Braswell shared a fierce relationship with Tamara Smith, his longtime girlfriend and mother of four of his children.

Police in Thomasville, N.C., say Braswell was arrested in 2005 for assaulting Smith. Braswell’s mother recalls the time she saw Smith chasing her 280-pound son down the street, swinging at him and swearing.

“They argued for the last 14 years,” Nona Lee Braswell says. “It was a rocky relationship, but they loved each other.”

That may be so, but when Smith’s father, Clifton Gregory Dennis, heard screams inside the house he shared with the couple just after 10:30 p.m., he grabbed a .22-caliber rifle. In the hall, Dennis confronted the 38-year-old Braswell, who police say had his hands around Smith’s throat. Dennis fired two shots. The first struck the wall near the ceiling. The second hit Braswell in the chest as the children watched.

Dennis, 56, is barred from owning a gun because of a felony record dating to 1987. When he faced drug charges in 2004, he was also convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon. Braswell’s death brought another wrongful gun possession charge and Dennis pleaded guilty March 7 and was sentenced to 15 to 27 months, requiring six months in prison and three years’ probation. But investigators determined the killing was justified as self-defense or the defense of others.

That decision angers Braswell’s family, but they’re trying to focus on caring for his sons and daughters.

“God love little children who have to go through stuff like that,” said Braswell’s aunt, Zondra Ayers.

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Around 11:40 p.m., 20-year-old Ruben Gonzalez Jr. was shot dead in Santa Ana, Calif., in what police said may have been a gang-related incident.

In Fort Washington, Md., 16-year-old Marcus Jones was fatally shot as he left a birthday party that drew members of rival youth gangs, Baby Haiti and Danger Boys. Two teenage suspects were arrested, said Prince George’s County police.

The call came in around midnight.

David Crary and Adam Geller can be reached at features(at)ap.org. Follow Geller on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AdGeller. Follow Crary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP.

 

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