California Youth Pastor Shot After Peace Rally Against Gun Violence In Pomona

| by Khier Casino

A youth pastor from Pomona, Calif., was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman when he drove home from a church party with his friends on Monday.

According to CBS News, the shooting happened just hours after a prayer rally held by community leaders who called for an end to gun violence in the city, which experienced 25 murders within the last year.

"I heard loud bangs and the broken glass and at that point I realized we're getting shot at," Eddie Reyes, a friend who was in the car with Diaz when he was driving, told CBS News. Diaz was the only one shot.

"I just saw him fighting for his life, gasping his last breath," adds Reyes, who said he attempted to help his friend before the arrival of emergency services. Diaz was rushed to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 1 a.m. Monday.

Daniel Diaz, 33, lived in West Covina and worked as a youth minister at New Beginning Community Ministries Church in Baldwin Park.

A vigil was held at a Pomona intersection Tuesday in memory of Diaz. Hundreds of people gathered to remember the much beloved youth pastor, CBS Los Angeles reported.

"To the person who did this, if I could see you face to face, I would tell you that God loves you,” said Diaz’s mother, who attended the vigil with her husband David Diaz, who is also a pastor. "And if you knew my son, my son would have loved you."

"Daniel was wonderful," Denise Lugo, his girlfriend, said. "I loved him very much. I’m just brokenhearted, right now. I hurt so bad."

A motive has not been released and the Pomona Police Department have no suspects, CBS Los Angeles reports.