LOS ANGELES - Relatives, friends and dozens of Marines gathered Wednesday to bid farewell to a 19-year-old Camp Pendleton-based Marine who was fatally shot while driving in South Los Angeles, and they hailed his work not only serving his country but helping the homeless and the community.
Lance Cpl. Carlos Segovia-Lopez was found shortly after 11:30 p.m. Sept. 16 covered in blood and slumped over the steering wheel of a Dodge Charger in the 2100 block of 31st Street, according to Los Angeles police and witnesses. He was taken off life support three days later after doctors informed the family he could not be saved.
His killer remains at large.
Segovia-Lopez was stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County but was home visiting family and friends, and also continuing the work he did with a local program to assist the homeless.
Speaking at the funeral service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti praised the Marine for his work, saying many people avert their eyes from the homeless, but not Segovia-Lopez.
"For Carlos, that was not some class of other people. That was his brother," Garcetti said.
"At a moment when we want to denigrate each other because of where we come from, what uniforms we serve, or we think we know people before we know them, let us all stop and learn and find who we are -- the connections that unite us, not the ones that divide us," Garcetti said. "Let us make the passing of Carlos something that bring us together in service and love and unity. At the end of our days we're left with two things: who did we know and what did we do. By that measure, Carlos, you left and led the most blessed of lives."
The Marine's mother, Sandra Lopez, told the crowd about how her son decided to become a Marine, and how she supported him despite her fears. But she soon realized the importance of his service when she saw him after he finished boot camp.
"I saw him leading a group," she said. "He made me the proudest mom, and I was like, 'Carlos!'. And I had been so proud of him because he found himself in the military. He found himself."
She made a plea to the community to protect people who serve in uniform.
"We can't lose another one," she said. "We need to take care of them. If any of you see one of them in danger, call the police right away. We can't afford to have another one of them. They give their life, they sacrifice themselves.
Police said the Segovia-Lopez was driving when an assailant shot him, causing him to lose control of the car and crash into a parked vehicle. LAPD Capt. Peter Whittingham said Segovia-Lopez was on his cellphone when he was shot.
"It is very possible that he might have seen some suspicious activity or even a crime in progress, and it appears to us that something happened in that instant where he was killed," Whittingham said.
Whittingham said police have a recording of the call, and gunshots can be heard before the phone goes dead.
The Los Angeles City Council is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the killer.