LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Loved ones Tuesday night were remembering a young father killed on the job after an argument with a customer who had called him for help.
Riverside police say 32-year-old Javier Martinez called for a tow truck Monday afternoon, got into an argument with the tow truck driver, Jesse Martinez, and shot him multiple times.
The victim’s older sister, Laura Ludington, says her 27-year-old brother was just doing his job and supporting his three young children.
“This person called for help and my brother was there to help him,” she said.
Dispatchers on the phone with the victim at the time said the suspect climbed up on the back of the tow truck to get his belongings, which was against company policy. Some time after that, investigators say things turned physical.
“He asked him to get down. Obviously he didn’t listen. He was heavily intoxicated,” Ludington said.
Still, she says her grieving family was grateful for what happened after that. As her brother was running away, a nurse who lived down the street ran to his side to start CPR.
“He was able to, in his last minutes, possibly experience kindness from a stranger,” she said.
Police found Javier within fifteen minutes, a half-mile away in another neighborhood, where they say he tossed evidence. Police recovered some bullet casings, but are still searching for the gun.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday night, candles flickered outside the front door at Liberty Towing, where Martinez was remembered as a charismatic, self-motivated family man.
“His kids just kept pushing him to become better and move forward and work harder. And that’s exactly what he was doing,” Ludington said, adding that she was holding on to the memories of her brother.
“I keep thinking about him,” she said. “And the picture that comes to my mind is my brother smiling.”
A GoFund Me account to help with funeral expenses and with support for Martinez’s children has been set up here.