LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of people mourned a young Marine who was gunned down while visiting Los Angeles last month, remembering him at his funeral Mass on Wednesday as a volunteer who helped others and signed up to serve during wartime.
Lance Cpl. Carlos Alfonso Segovia Lopez, 19, was on leave from Camp Pendleton when he was shot in the head while driving through South Los Angeles on Sept. 16. He died after a few days on life support.
His mother, Sandra Lopez, gave a eulogy at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. She said that as her son was about to graduate from high school, she told him he needed to begin building his future and she believed he would be successful in the military.
A few days later, he told her he was going to join the Marine Corps but she had to accompany him when he went to sign up because he was still 17.
"I said, 'Carlos, I will sign if you ask me to,' and he said, 'Yes, ma'am,'" she recounted to the audience of fellow Marines, his commander and Mayor Eric Garcetti, wiping away tears as she spoke.
"When he graduated from boot camp, I saw him leading a group and ... he made me the proudest mom," she said.
Lopez told her community that when members of the military come to visit, they need to be taken care of.
"We can't lose another one. We need to take care of them. If you see one of them in danger call the police right away," she said.
Segovia was a native of El Salvador who joined the Marine Corps after high school, where volunteered with a Los Angeles group that helps homeless people and their animals.
"I will carry Carlos with me to serve this city," Garcetti said.
Segovia, a U.S. citizen, also was eulogized by Lt. Col. Cory Quinn, commander of Advanced Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry (West), at Camp Pendleton.
"I ask myself this, why do you join? Our nation's been at war for 15 years. This Friday is the 15th anniversary of the first bomb that fell on Afghanistan. Almost his whole life, the country's at war, and yet he joined the military," Quinn said. "To join the Marines at a time of war, to join as an infantryman, is an extraordinary emotional and intellectual decision."
Los Angeles has offered a $50,000 reward to find the killer.