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Family, friends gather to remember 17-year-old (w/video)

By Bianca Montes
Dec. 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Updated Dec. 2, 2013 at 6:02 a.m.

Sandra Deleon, of Bloomington, bottom right, watches balloons being released into the sky at a vigil for her deceased son at a pavilion off of North Ben Wilson Street in Victoria.

The weather was gloomy - the clouds were painted dark shades of gray, and a chilled wind blew away the warmth of Sunday morning.

It seemed fitting.

Family and friends gathered at a small pavilion off Ben Wilson Street in the afternoon to honor 17-year-old Richard Rico Deleon, who was fatally shot Thanksgiving morning.

In the early morning holiday hours, deputies responded to an emergency call of shots fired in the 400 block of Hedge Street in Bloomington, said Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor.

Deleon was found lying on the floor in the residence with an "apparent gunshot to the face," according to a report filed with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.

Janiemarie Perez Clay, 22, of Bloomington, was later arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held at the Victoria County Jail. Her bond is set at $75,000.

No further information about the case is available because of the pending investigation, O'Connor said.

About 30 people attended the Sunday memorial in the park. A large posterboard was filled with photographs of Deleon, including photographs of him and Clay. In one close-up photograph, the family noted the two almost appeared to be twins.

Sandra Deleon Ramirez, the mother, sobbed at the observance.

Her body shook.

Her fingers masked her eyes, which throbbed in pain from the past four days of crying.

"I'm not ready to say goodbye," she said.

Those at the memorial described Deleon as a "good kid," who, despite his wrinkled past, was trying to make something of his life and encourage those around him to do the same.

His uncle, Jose Cavasos, 37, of Victoria, has worn a simple, silver chain necklace around his neck for the past two years, a gift from his nephew.

Cavasos said he was in jail when his nephew gave him the necklace.

"He said I won't get in trouble as long as I'm wearing it. I haven't," Cavasos said. "I always wear it. I always keep it next to me."

He also said his children looked up to Deleon like an older brother.

"He always had a smile on his face," Cavasos said. "He was always willing to help."

Paula Gonzales, 25, of Victoria, said that is how she will always remember Deleon - with a smile on his face.

"He was fun to be around," she said, laughing as she told the crowd stories of how he would hide from his grandmother.

"He was always joking. The scene could be dark, and he could still joke," Gonzales said. "His presence is going to be around no matter where we go."

His sister-in-law, Tiffany Alaniz, 30, of Victoria, said Deleon loved life.

Deleon moved in with Alaniz and her husband after being released from Texas Youth Commission.

Alaniz said Deleon was working hard, trying to raise his grades at school so he could play football. "He always wanted to play."

"It's hard," she cried before letting a balloon drift off into the sky to pay homage.



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