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'We Are Heartbroken': Hundreds Mourn Slain Marine at Vigil

Front gate Camp Pendleton

Since her 19-year-old son was shot over the weekend, Sandra Lopez has been asking, "Why?"

Carlos Segovia, who had been clinging to life until Monday night, was a model citizen. He had recently joined the Marines and held the rank of lance corporal. He was known for volunteering his time to help those who were less fortunate.

"My only boy," Lopez said at a vigil held Tuesday night in honor of her son. "My wonderful boy who was killed. I have no idea how I'm going to live without him."

On Friday about 11:30 p.m., Segovia, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton but on a weekend leave, was leaving his girlfriend's house in a black Dodge Charger when he was shot in the 2100 block of West 31st Street, police said.

Police are unsure why Segovia would have been targeted because he doesn't have any connections to gangs or other illegal activity. At this point, police are looking for more witnesses to help identify the shooter. At the vigil, Los Angeles police Capt. Peter Whittingham said the city is offering a $50,000 reward for information in the shooting.

"Anyone who has seen anything ... come forward," Whittingham told the crowd of hundreds who gathered at the shooting site with candles. A man in a forest green Marines shirt tacked an American flag to a telephone pole where people placed dozens of candles and bouquets of flowers.

Eric Marshall met Segovia through work with LA on Cloud 9 and said he was the "epitome of the strong, silent type," one who had a penchant for helping others.

"This man was no ordinary person," he said.

Marshall said Segovia had a way with animals and called him the "dog whisperer."

"We are heartbroken over this tragedy," LA on Cloud 9 said. "We were fortunate to witness Carlos become a fine young man who graduated from the Marine camp earlier this year and started his service with the U.S. Marines."

Segovia, who was born in El Salvador, came to the U.S. with his mother. Both are U.S. citizens, Claudia Perez, a family friend, said.

The U.S. Marine Corps identified him as Carlos Segovia Lopez, who held the rank of lance corporal. His current assignment was at the student reconnaissance training company. He earned the National Defense Service Medal and certificate of commendation.

A U.S. Marine Corps training command said in a statement that his death weighed heavily on everyone's hearts.

"The overwhelming support and prayers we witnessed in support of this young man are a testament to the mighty son, friend and warrior that he was," the training command said.

"Although we grieve the loss of one of our own, we will continue to stand with and support Carlos' loved ones as they work through this tragedy. In a very short time, [Segovia] deeply impacted those who came to know him and his unselfish and honorable legacy will live on in our Corps. Once a Marine, always a Marine."

Lopez called for people in the community to speak up.

"He wanted to give his life to people," she said. "He doesn't deserve this."

Near the end of the vigil, a man played "Taps" on a trumpet as men and women began to cry.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Gang Homicide Division at (323) 786-5110. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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