Friends, family and neighbors grieved Tuesday at a memorial site of 19-year-old PCC nursing student Irais Acosta, who was fatally shot inside a Pasadena home over the weekend.
Acosta’s boyfriend Jonjon Crummie, 18, is charged with murder for allegedly shooting down Acosta early Sunday morning in his apartment in the 1500 block of North Raymond Avenue in Pasadena. Crummie surrendered to Pasadena Police Monday afternoon without incident and is currently in custody, according to a Pasadena Police Department press release.
Crummie was charged with murder using a handgun on Wednesday and will be arraigned on Thursday, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. If he is found guilty of murder, Crummie may face 50 years to life in prison.
Shots were reported around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday and police arrived on the scene to find Acosta dead on the ground, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
The college released a statement on Sunday regarding the shooting of Acosta and extended its condolences to her family.
“Irais was a first year student who dreamed of becoming a registered nurse,” the statement reads. “The college extends its deepest sympathy to the Acosta family, friends, and the entire PCC community in this time of loss. Pasadena City College is a family and this impacts us all.”
At Acosta’s home, merely blocks away from the crime scene, a second memorial was held on the sidewalk. Members of her family stood quietly fixing pictures, sweeping leaves and dirt away from lit candles in her memory.
A water jug filled with dollars and coins stood near a picture of a smiling Acosta.
“We’re trying to raise money for her funeral,” Esmeralda Acosta, a member of the family said. “Any donations, any help we can get.”
Laura Fernandez , a PCC student and friend of Acosta, visited the memorial and lit a candle.
“I knew her since middle school. I was shocked when I found out. We hadn’t seen her in so long … she was taking up a lot of classes,” Fernandez said. “Her life was shining and all of a sudden she was gone.”
Acosta’s older brother Juan wanted to thank PCC for their support in this time of grieving.
“I would like to say to her classmates at Pasadena City College to remember her for how joyful she always was and how she was always the life of the party,” Juan Acosta said.
Neighbors gathered around the memorial outside the crime scene on North Raymond Avenue on Tuesday, leaving behind empty beer bottles, candles and flowers to honor her.
Bethany Martinez, a close friend of Acosta, sat on the sidewalk with tears in her eyes drinking a bottle of wine by herself.
“How do you expect us to feel,” she said. “This is terrible.”
Martinez got up and poured what little remained in her bottle over the memorial flowers beside her.
Javier Vasquez, who used to live in the same apartment as Crummie, was somber yet said he was desensitized to shootings in his neighborhood.
“If you were raised in this city, nothing phases you,” Vasquez said. “People [grow up] with a lack of education, a lack of good parenting. They don’t know how to deal with these kinds of situations.”
Vasquez recognized Crummie from around the neighborhood, he said.
“I always used to see him in the community and he didn’t look like a dangerous kid,” Vasquez said. “He looked like a normal kid. He just hanged around with the wrong crew…”
Acosta worked at the Jack-in-the-Box across campus, but quit last week, according to her co-worker Ali Aissa.
“She came in Friday to pick-up her last check and said she had personal problems, but she never told me what her problems were,” Aissa said. “She told me Ali I’m going to miss you and I told her I’m going to miss you too and that was the last time I saw her.”
“Too young to die,” Aissa added as a tear ran down his cheek.
According to a Pasadena Police crime report, 18 homicides were reported from 2011 to 2013. Acosta’s death is the first recorded homicide of the year.
A memorial in honor of Acosta was held on Tuesday evening at her family’s home in Pasadena. The family is accepting donations to fund Acosta’s funeral. Donations are also accepted by the family at www.gofundme.com/IraisAcosta and a car wash fundraiser is planned for this Saturday and Sunday at the Carl’s Jr. on the corner of Lake Ave. and Orange Grove Boulevard.
Acosta’s father had a special message for her college classmates.
“I would like for all of her Pasadena City College friends to know that they are welcome to my daughter’s services, so that we may all say our final goodbyes and we can all bury my dear daughter together.” Baltizar Acosta said.
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