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Remembering Marciano Martinez Jimenez, a victim of the Half Moon Bay shooting


Authorities in Half Moon Bay, Calif., have identified those killed in the mass shooting there this week. They were seven men and women. All of them worked in the agricultural industry, many living far from the places they were raised in Asia or Latin America and far from family. From member station KQED, reporter Madi Bolanos has this profile of one victim.

MADI BOLANOS, BYLINE: Marciano Martinez Jimenez was 50 years old and a godfather to Catalina Martinez's nieces and nephews. She stopped by the impromptu memorial in downtown Half Moon Bay.

CATALINA MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

BOLANOS: Just two years ago, they had the opportunity to spend Christmas together. She says they spent many unforgettable moments together. She knew his parents. Martinez Jimenez and Martinez were from the Pueblo Santiago Apostol in Oaxaca, Mexico. Martinez says it's hard for her to comprehend this tragedy in her community, let alone the death of someone she knew so closely.

MARTINEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

BOLANOS: He was a very humble person, she says, very hard working. He liked to help his community, whoever needed it. He was that kind of person. Martinez Jimenez lived just north of Half Moon Bay, where he rented a room in a trailer park. His neighbor, Olga Velasquez, first met him in 2014 when they both attended English classes at San Mateo Community College.

OLGA VELASQUEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

BOLANOS: He was a very smart person, very caring, she says. She has good memories of him as a neighbor and a classmate. She considered him a brother. Velasquez says they'd talk often over the fence they shared, both offering a listening ear and advice.

VELASQUEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

BOLANOS: When they were in school, she says, he told her he wanted to work hard to send money back home to his parents in Oaxaca. He's always been hardworking and a good neighbor. Francisca Sanchez says he passed by her place every night while walking his dog. They bonded over their pets.

FRANCISCA SANCHEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

BOLANOS: He'd walk by and say, oh, your dog is always there, he's so cute, she says. She'd respond, yes, have a good night. Sanchez and Martinez Jimenez were also from the same pueblo in Oaxaca.

SANCHEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

BOLANOS: They're very proud of that, she says. They work hard to get ahead. So when a tragedy like this happens, they're left feeling speechless. Later tonight, the trailer park community where Marciano Martinez Jimenez lived plans to hold a special vigil to remember their neighbor and friend. For NPR News, I'm Madi Bolanos in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Madi Bolanos
Madi Bolanos is a reporter at Valley Public Radio covering issues including immigration and underserved communities.