Family, friends remember victims of June 7 car crash

Family members and friends of the two men who died after a CSUN student suspected of drunk driving collided into the back of their car while stopped at a red light, are keeping their memories alive through social networking Web sites and blogs.

Farzad Etesamifar, 25, of Iran and his cousin, Sepehr Keshavarz, 23, of Reseda died in the early morning hours of June 7 at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Densmore Avenue in Encino.

According to Rosa Aldama, her nephew, Etesamifar was living in Iran and visiting Los Angeles with his parents to attend his aunt’s graduation from USC Pharmacy School.

Etesamifar’s father had returned to Iran three days prior to the accident and Etesamifar and his mother were scheduled to leave for Iran the day after the accident.

Aldama said, Keshavarz had moved to Reseda two years prior to pursue his singing career and was in the process of obtaining his U.S. residency.

In an email from Arash Mousavi, a CSUN alumnus who is first cousins to both men, wrote, ‘His (Keshavarz) life revolved around music.’

According to Mousavi, Keshavarz was talented with playing the piano and guitar that without having any formal training he could watch and listen to someone else play and be able to duplicate the exact tones.

Family members say he was making an album scheduled to be completed by next year.

‘Their lives were cut short,’ said Aldama. ‘My heart has broken into pieces and I don’t know how I am going to go on.’

Many of Etesamifar’s close friends stay in contact with each other through Yahoo!360, a social networking Web site. With blogs, photos, lists, recommendations, and many other features they can post comments, pictures and stories.

Amin Ghoncheh, from Iran, who is a close friend of Etesamifar, wanted his life to be remembered and shared. Ghoncheh, along with several other close friends of Etesamifar set up a blog called ‘Remember him in Happiness,’ where people can post a tribute.

Payam Hossaini, an IT developer from Iran, met Etesamifar in college at the Aptech Institute, an IT training school. His Yahoo!360 blog entry for Etesamifar is called ‘Rest in Peace.’

Hossaini writes via email that there were four of them that were very close in college; Etesamifar, Farhad Saeedi Nejad, Shahin Motevali and himself.

‘He (Etesamifar) was always so relaxed,’ said Hossaini via email.

‘I remember one night we all four were studying for an exam and although there was a lack of time, he seemed so cool,’ Hossaini said.

Etesamifar’s older sister Farima set up a Facebook account a few days after the death of the two cousins, said family members. It is a place where family and friends can come together to share their thoughts about the two, said Aldama.

‘There are pictures of them both as adults and as children,’ said their aunt who would like to remain anonymous.

‘Ever since childhood, those two boys have been the best of friends and I am just glad they are together in Heaven,’ their aunt said.

In an email from Mousavi, he writes, he will always remember Keshavarz by the way he would end every sentence in Farsi with ‘Mesle Gorg’ which means ‘Like a Wolf.’

‘This was the way he viewed life, like a wolf, he had to go after anything that he wanted and work hard at getting there,’ Mousavi writes.

Etesamifar and Keshavarz were buried in Los Angeles at Rose Hills Cemetery, said family members.

Etesamifar’s father Ali from Iran writes in an email, ‘Farzad was a joyful person a lovely son, a brother, and a true friend. Farzad gave us so much and never expected anything in return. He is honest, responsible and trustworthy. Sepehr touched everyone with his music and soulful singing. His warm voice, poetic songs and his joyful melodies shall never be forgotten by those who heard them.’

Ali Etesamifar went on to write, ‘Farzad and Sepehr were not only cousins but the best of friends. They grew up together and were ultimately taken together.’

Keshavarz is survived by his mother. He is an only child and his father passed away 17 years ago, said Aldama.

According to Mousavi’s email, Keshavarz’s mother was denied a visa to be able to see her only son’s funeral from the American Consulate in Turkey.

Keshavarz’s mother was previously denied a visa to attend her cousin’s graduation a few weeks prior.

‘We are now worried that she (Keshavarz’s mother) will not be allowed to come to the trial, whenever it gets scheduled,’ said an aunt who would like to remain nameless.

The July 3 arraignment for CSUN student Sean Martin Mishlof was rescheduled for July 28.

Mishlof has been charged with two counts each of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the Encino car crash.

If convicted of all charges, Mishlof faces 30 years to life, said District Attorney Spokesperson Sandi Gibbons.

Mishlof remains in jail on a $2 million bond.

Police said that two masked men approached Francisco Javier Magallanes on the driver’s side of his vehicle and shot him while he tried to drive away at 10:15 p.m.

Magallanes managed to drive a couple of car lengths before crashing into several parked vehicles in front of the Townhome Apartments on Lindley Avenue, between Devonshire and Kingsbury Avenues, police said.

Detective John Doerbecker of the Devonshire Community Police Station said witnesses saw the two men run southbound on Lindley Avenue while a dark-colored SUV that dropped off the assailants traveled northbound.

Witnesses have also stated that they saw the two men jump the fence into the Granada Hills High School. Doerbecker is in the process of obtaining the high school’s security camera footage.

Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Barbara Riggs said witnesses assisted Magallanes until the police arrived.

‘He (Magallanes) was able to give statements to a couple of witnesses and police officers before being rushed to Northridge Hospital,’ Riggs said.

Friends said Magallanes, who is a member of the Beta Gamma Nu fraternity, was leaving his apartment to spend the night at his girlfriend’s place less than a mile away.

Miguel Gonzalez, fraternity founder and friend, said he was staying at Magallanes’ apartment and was there the night of the shooting.

‘I was devastated when I heard the news,’ Gonzalez said. ‘He is a good kid and didn’t deserve this.’

Edwin Cavajal, a CSUN alumnus and BGN fraternity member, was with Magallanes earlier that day on Sunday at the Dodgers v. Angels game.

‘We had fun like we normally do, and I’ve never known him to get mixed up with the wrong crowd,’ Cavajal said. ‘He comes from a great, hard-working family from the Coachella Valley, and it is more than a shock to hear this type of news regarding one of my brothers.’

Cavajal said he always thought the Granada Hills High School area was a safe place, but that it proves crime can occur anywhere.

Doerbecker said they have no leads and are unable to speak with Magallanes because he is in a medically induced unconscious-state.

Neighbors say he was going to school, working, and that he is an overall good guy.

Magallanes is in the intensive care unit at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. His family and girlfriend have been by his side since the first night, Gonzalez said.

‘The bullet is lodged in his neck,’ said Gonzalez, who is in direct contact with his parents and who has visited the hospital several times.

Gonzalez said that the doctors are debating if they should remove the bullet from his vertebrae because they say it could potentially make the situation worse.

‘He (Magallanes) already has a high chance of being paralyzed because of where the bullet struck,’ said Gonzalez, so they are just taking it day-by-day.

Riggs said the motive is unclear, as nothing was stolen from the victim, he is not associated with any gangs and it did not seem to be a case of road-rage.

‘By all
accounts, it is very random,’ Riggs said.

When asked if she thought the case was solvable, Riggs said she is not worried that it will not be solved because people will start talking and that will eventually produce leads that will crack the case.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Devonshire Community Police Station at (818) 832-0633.

In an effort to increase their popularity with Latino voters, they discussed issues such as education, health care, housing, immigration and the Iraq War.

McCain was the first candidate to address the 700 people in attendance by saying that increasing taxes would have a negative effect on small businesses.

‘It’s a terrible mistake to raise taxes during an economic downturn,’ McCain said. ‘Increasing taxes for Americans impedes our growth, discourages innovation and makes us less competitive.’

‘Our current business tax rate is the second highest in the world, and increasing it will postpone our recovery from this downturn and will make us increasingly less competitive in the world economy,’ McCain said.

McCain continued by talking about the energy crisis and said that his ‘Lexington Project’ would address the issue efficiently.

The project proposes an increase in domestic production of oil meant to end the nation’s dependence on foreign producers and solve price speculation. It also plans to construct 45 nuclear plants by 2030 and develop alternative energy programs such as coal, solar and wind industries.

When McCain began to talk about the contributions of Latinos in the U.S., the war and his imprisonment, two demonstrators from Codepink, a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement, interrupted him. The demonstrators forced him to end his speech abruptly by yelling, ‘He doesn’t represent Arizona. We want a peace candidate, (and) your silence is consent.’

After the demonstrators where escorted out of the hotel by security agents, McCain answered questions from legislators.

‘(Immigration) will be my priority, yesterday, today and tomorrow,’ McCain responded to a question about immigration reform.

‘We have to secure our borders, but we also must proceed with a temporary worker program that is verifiable and truly temporary,’ McCain said. ‘We must also understand that there are 12 million people that are here illegally and that they’re God’s children.’

The Republican Party presidential candidate also talked about his health care project, which includes a $5,000 refundable tax credit for every family to travel across state lines to secure the health insurance policy they want. McCain said that the problem is not the quality of medical care, but its affordability.

He also talked about the education system and explained that there are segments of the population that do not receive a good quality education because the system is based on income and property taxes. He said he would renew the No Child Left Behind Act if he were elected president.

After McCain said, ‘it’s very fragile what we have won’ in regard to the Iraq War, a man with press credentials stood up and screamed at journalists, ‘There are one million Iraqis dead! Report that!’ The remark motivated McCain to conclude his participation in the conference.

Before Obama started to speak, NALEO’s executive director, Arturo Vargas, said the demonstrators had no connections with NALEO and that their behavior did not reflect the organization’s values.

Obama started his speech by emphasizing that the federal government has not been working properly for eight years and that McCain does not offer real change. After that, he asked for the help of Latinos to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans.

‘Latinos embody the best of the American dream,’ Obama said before adding that the government should not vacillate to implement immigration reform and provide 12 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

‘We need to reconcile our values and reconcile our principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, and we can do something more. We can tear down the barriers that keep the American dream out of reach for so many Americans,’ Obama said.

‘But I can’t do it on my own. I have to have your help,’ Obama said. ‘In this election, it’s come down to how many Latinos turn out to vote.’

After saying ‘si se puede’ ‘- this means ‘yes we can’ in Spanish ‘- and getting a standing ovation from the audience, Obama summarized his proposals in various areas when an audience member asked him about the housing crisis and its correlation to unemployment.

Obama said that if he were elected president, not only would he invest in the development of infrastructure at a national level to create more jobs, but also in research for renewable energy sources. He also said he would provide universal health care and make community college free, in addition to giving a $4,000 tuition credit to students to help them finish their education.

When asked about the crisis in the health care system, Obama said that by the end of his first term as president there would not be a single American without medical insurance.

He added that African Americans and Latinos suffer terrible disparities in terms of access to medical services and that the federal government needs to step up to that challenge because it is placing the burden on local governments.

‘We’ve got to build a coalition in this election for change, and the Hispanic community has to be at the heart of that coalition,’ Obama said. ‘We’re going to have members of Congress accountable, and we’re going to hold me, as president, accountable to actually deliver.’

Obama said it is necessary to fix the educational system to better prepare students. If the government does not address the issue, the national economy would be affected in the future, he said.

He proposed to increase teachers’ salaries and not renew the No Child Left Behind Act because he considers it an annual exam that is not an accurate way of assessing the academic performance of student.

Though Obama assured he would bring American troops back from Iraq 16 months after he is elected president, he said it is necessary to redirect some of those resources to Afghanistan.

‘We also got to talk to the regional players, including our enemies,’ Obama said. ‘Iran, Syria, we have got to be in direct talks with them, talking about stabilizing (Iraq), and we need to apply both carrots and sticks to those countries so that they’re more cooperative.’