Behind-the-Camera of Photojournalist Nic Coury in Monterey County, California.

July 8, 2014

A Victim of a Gang Shooting Speaks Out.

Jose Robles at his home in Seaside, Calif. June 2014.
 A few months ago during a community meeting in Seaside discussing gang violence in the aftermath of a violent April, I met Jose Robles.

On March 20, during a night of many shootings in Monterey CountyJose Robles was doing one last job for the night in Seaside, hauling away old paint from a project site. He called his wife, Bernarda, and said he would be home in 10 minutes to have dinner with her and his two daughters. But the next time she saw her husband, he was lying in the street, shot in the back and may never walk again.

Robles is a family man. He thorough enjoyed life before the devastating shooting and even now, I see a genuine smile on his face. I interviewed him for a story about his life since the shooting. He loves his family and he loves his God. I delivered a copy of the published article, he was genuine and thankful for telling his story. Even in broken English, we communicated easily.

It's funny how such a tragic event can move people and hopefully others can learn and better their own lives from such an event. I talked with a colleague at the Seaside Police Department, Sgt. Nick Borges, who is a really good guy. He told me the Robles shooting haunted him. It was a humanizing comment.

I've never had the chance to talk to a shooting victim before and I wanted to ask Robles if he would ever want to meet the shooter.

He sighed. "No need"
"What would you want to say to him?" I asked.
"I would say he shouldn’t be using guns and that is not the way you fix things in life. You talk out your problems."

Seaside police officers care for Jose Robles shortly after he was shot once in the back on March 20, 2014.

Jose Robles at his home in Seaside, Calif. June 2014.

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