Nine months after , his slaying remains unsolved.
Family and Friends are now planning an event to raise funds for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the killing. On Wednesday May 2 at in both Capitola and Santa Cruz, 20 percent of all sales will be given to the Duran fund from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m.
In the March edition of Citizens Against Homicide, his aunt, Lupe Esperanza, contributed the following letter:
In 2005, I lost my son Jorge, in a horrible DUI crash. Almost six years later to the day my nephew, Luis Duran, was murdered outside of a Watsonville home, where he had been attending a birthday party. He was killed on July 9, 2011. I am still haunted by the call I received in the middle of the night telling me he was dead.
Luis was like one of my children, my youngest. He had been living with my family in Soquel, California, for the past few years, and I had also helped raise him when he was younger. Recently, he and I had begun to spend a lot of time together at home because of our similar work schedules. He always fixed me luch and was a great listener. He was happy and caring. He had become both a son and a friend to me.
He was a friend to so many. Our family went on a cruise last year, and within the first hour onboard, he had already made friends that he hung out with for the rest of the trip. And he was a charmer too! He always got attention from girls, because he knew how to treat them with respect, compliment them, and make them laugh.
In January of 2011, Luis graduated from Louden Nelson High School. He was happy and proud, because it was another accomplishment for him. I felt so very proud and content. The whole family celebrated his success. His plan was to attend Cabrillo College and become an x-ray technician. I remember the day he got his first job at La Posada, a home for the elderly, and how excited he was because he was going to make enough money to buy a car. It hadn’t been too long since he had gotten his driver’s license. He had so many plans for the future, like buying a new truck for his dad.
Luis loved our community. He had the opportunity to leave and live with family in Sacramento, but he felt at home here more than anywhere else. I almost wish he had left, because then the gang members who had singled him out would not have had access to him. A few weeks before he was killed, he had been attacked and stabbed by gang members. I was scared for him, but Luis was tough. He didn’t want to live life in fear and wasn’t going to allow that attack to scare him or make him change his way of life. He was adventurous, independent, smart and hardworking.
Luis was only 18 when he was gunned down without provocation. There is nothing that he could have done or said to anyone that would have caused him to deserve to be murdered in such a cowardly manner. They shot him in the dark of night and left him in the street to die alone. One of the many questions I have is why these people who think they are so brave and tough continue to hide? Why don’t they show themselves?
When they killed him, all of our lives changed forever. My family has never been the same and never will be. My life feels empty without him. I know I am not the only person who feels this loss. His mother, my sister, has lost her first baby. He left a younger brother and sister who never wanted him to disappear from their lives like he did. His cousins miss him terribly. My husband regrets all of the scoldings he gave him and wishes he had those days back.
These people need to be stopped. Gang turf wars are based on ideas of ownership that don’t exist. I am sure that the people who stabbed him a few weeks before he was murdered are the same ones who killed him. I am sure that someone witnessed Luis’s murder. It is not possible that out of all of the people who were there the night of his murder, that no one can help me. All I want is justice for Luis. We cannot live in fear of gangs and must stand up to them. We are all helping destroy our community by our inaction. Please stand up to this evil in our community by letting the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division know if you have any information that could lead to the arrest of Luis’s murderers. They can be reached at 831-454-2311. Please help answer the questions that keep plaguing my family.
Luis left so many things undone in his life and I am happy that his short life was lived the way he wanted. I hope that somewhere and in some way, both of my boys are okay, and that Luis and Jorge are together.