On Wednesday May 21st a vigil was held for Antonio Guzman Lopez, a 38 year old man shot and killed by San Jose State Police Officers on San Salvador and 8th street, just outside of the San Jose State campus. Marking 3 months since his death, his family and friends gathered at the site of the event to ask questions, keep faith, but more importantly, remember a father whose intentions that night are still a question in everyone’s mind.
It was not a simple case. Death never is, especially when it becomes muddled and questions are unanswerable. The justice for Josiah campaign held a vigil to remember the man they called family. Antonio Guzman’s mother was present, a small, pensive woman who simply thanked everyone for coming and honoring the memory of her son.
No politics were discussed, only questions asked. Very few details have been leaked over the shooting incident on the morning of February 21st when, according to SJSUPD, Antonio was spotted with a blade, which then resulted in a 911 call and the university police trying to apprehend him.
Allegedly. after trying to get him to put down the blade, (one used for cutting drywall), he rushed at one of the officers which led to him being shot twice in the back. Another bullet managed to reach the second story of a sorority, where no one was hurt.
Reactions to this event were especially controversial, since the officers were reportedly wearing high definition Go Pro cameras. But no such evidence, if any was even recorded, has come to light.
One of Antonio’s youngest sons, Josiah, held a candle as his mother, Antonio’s partner Laurie Valdez, and other family and community members spoke about this incident and the person they knew, not about the slain individual depicted in the news. The campaign to raise awareness of the incident and its details is named after the young boy who seemed unable to comprehend the depth of this reality. According to his mother, Laurie, he would ask about his father’s whereabouts.
All that the family wants now is truth. Why their loving family member, an undocumented worker, who would never challenge authority because of a fear of being deported, ended up being shot with lethal force on that morning.