Car Wash Held in Memory of Andrew Pacheco a Week After the 19 year-old Was Slain in Anaheim
After being rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange, the young man, who wasn't in a gang, died as a result of his wounds. One week later, his image was emblazoned on 'in loving memory' shirts worn at the fundraiser, which also gave people who knew him well a chance to come together.
"You can see how much he's loved just by looking at everybody here," his father, Johnny Pacheco, said. "My son, what happened to him, was a tragedy. He had everything going for him," his mother Linda laments. "He was a full-time student at Fullerton College. Right after graduation from high school, he started his UPS job."
Pacheco had graduated from Magnolia last year where he played Varsity football. In addition to family and friends, Andrew Pacheco's boss, fellow co-workers, and one of his professors attended the car wash.
Saturday's event was more about community than raising funds, however. The young man's friends wanted to help out and Pacheco's parents honored their request. A taquero served up plates to a long line of attendees. Lowriders were parked in the back with the windows rolled down playing Zapp & Roger while friends soaped up, rinsed and towel dried cars throughout the day. A collage captured the teen's life in pictures. The day was sunny, but the heat was not overbearing.
Washing cars in memory of Pacheco
Gabriel San Román / OC Weekly
"We've always worried, with everything going on, that no one is safe out there anymore," Linda said. "This is something that I've always feared," added her husband. Living in Anaheim for the past 17 years, they pride themselves on raising their sons to be respectful and to stay out of trouble. "Things just happen and we can not control anybody else's actions."
"He had too many dreams," Johnny remembers. "He even told me, 'Dad, I can do anything in life, but I'm not sure what I want to do.'" Pacheco's fatherly advice to his son was to take it day by day as he had his whole life ahead of him to figure it out.
Another person who lent his guiding words to Andrew Pacheco and his brothers was their cousin Eddie Quiñones. "I would always tell these boys, 'If I give you the best advice, don't ever join a gang,'" he says. "I'm fortunate enough that they took my advice." Quiñones spoke from personal experience having once been an active gang member in Anaheim. His metamorphosis in successfully leaving that life was detailed in the pages of the Weekly ten years ago.
Like his cousin, though, he found his life hanging by the edge of a knife in the city. "Over six years ago, I had something similar happen to me where I was stabbed 27 times," Quiñones said showing a scar on his neck that could have proven to be the fatal slash. "I was carjacked. I just put up a fight and the person didn't get my car." A man of faith, he wondered why his life was ultimately spared, but not that of his cousin who had so many dreams.
Quiñones also wishes that others in the city would take the advice he had given his cousins about gangs. "Think about the repercussions that you have to deal with if you get caught committing a gang-related crime," he says. "All in the end it's not worth it. You're not fighting for any cause. You're fighting each other, killing your own race."
Under the shade of a canopy, Andrew Pacheco's family members reminisced while seated on fold out chairs. They wondered why they couldn't be gathered together for his college graduation, wedding, or baby shower instead of his passing.
"I'm glad I had at least 19 beautiful years with him," Johnny Pacheco said of his son. "All this support is kind of overwhelming. This is what keeps me going."
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.