SAN DIEGO - “What you saw was what you got. There was no pretense, no façade. She was just this sweet, beautiful, loving, very direct woman that was just an incredible friend.” Those were the words of Andre Briones, who is now planning a candlelight vigil for Ilona Flint, who was gunned down in a mall parking lot on Christmas Eve morning.
Briones told 10News Flint was the hardest worker he ever met, and that he was happy to have her working for him at his La Jolla area retail store.
“I spent a lot of time talking to her about things that were going on in my life and you know things that I was going through, and she listened,” Briones said, voice shaking.
Briones agreed to talk to 10News on the condition that we not ask about her relationships with her fiancé, Gianni Belvedere, and Belvedere’s brother, Sal.
Sal Belvedere was with Flint when she was shot in the head and chest. She died after calling 9-1-1. Belvedere is in critical condition at Scripps Mercy hospital with gunshot wounds in his chest.
Briones learned about the shooting from a co-worker. “And I didn’t believe her. I still don’t believe her. I don’t believe she’s gone.”
“She was the strongest person I’ve ever met in my entire life, and I can say that, because how many people get shot in the head and chest, still pick up their phone, call 9-1-1 and let them know at least mostly where they’re at and hold on for as long as they can? Not every person in the world is like that, and I want people to know what we are missing now,” said Briones.
The candlelight vigil will be held Saturday at La Jolla Shores at 6 p.m. The public is welcome.