WILMINGTON (CBSLA) — In bad times friends say 19-year-old Alex Zepeda would always put a smile on you.

His family says he was a leader, and straight A student from Wilmington’s Banning High School. He was a star soccer player, a young LAPD explorer and went on to be a Cal State Fullerton sophomore.

His cousin, who didn’t want to be identified, says Zepeda wanted to keep kids from his neighborhood away from gangs.

“Help out teenagers that grew up where he did and tell them that there is a chance and they can make it,” the cousin said.

Police say on Saturday night Zepeda was leaving a Halloween party down the street and was shot and killed.  Detectives don’t know the motive.

Friends gathered to light candles where he died.

“It’s just hard, it’s heartbreaking to see somebody just leaving so soon,” Janet Salcido said.

To help with Zepeda’s memorial costs Click Here.

While in high school Zepeda interned at Councilman Joe Buscaino’s office. He sent this statement that reads in part:

“Alex was a stellar intern with a great work ethic, who never missed a day of work.  I knew him to be kind and respectable… From my perspective he was doing everything right to build a good life for himself…”

His cousin says he wasn’t in a gang and believes he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And has this message for the killer.

“You stole his opportunity to make positive and great change.”


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