He became a criminal justice major to combat the gang violence he grew up with in the Lennox area and while visiting that very same area he was shot and killed in the early hours of the morning on Saturday.
‘It’s really ironic,’ said Bryant Ortiz his friend and CSUN student. ‘He was studying criminal justice to and then to die from gang violence.’
Fernando Moreno had just arrived at his mother’s house after picking up a friend from a party. After he had parked the truck he was driving Moreno noticed that it was a little off and reparked it, this was one of his pet peeves, said his girlfriend and mother of his two-year-old son Alexandra Acosta.
As he was stepping out of the truck a light colored car stopped next to him, it was then that one of the occupants asked Moreno where he was from Acosta said.
‘He kept saying he wasn’t from anywhere and that he wasn’t into that stuff and then they shot him in the head,’ Acosta said this past Monday, hours after Moreno was taken off life support.
Before the driver sped off he identified himself as belonging to a local gang. Moreno was taken to the UCLA hospital via ambulance, after several tests the doctors informed his girlfriend and mother of this two-year-old son, that he was brain-dead. Moreno was taken off life support and died at 7 a.m. yesterday morning.
In August Sheriff Lee Baca said that in L.A. County there had been 5,800 deaths due to gang violence.
Ortiz, a junior business finance major, said that despite having grown up in Linwood Moreno was never attracted to the gang life.
‘He grew up in a bad part of town and saw past it,’ Ortiz said. ‘When his son was born he moved out of Lennox.’
Acosta said that apart from being noble and caring, he was very smart and committed to not only providing for his family, but receiving a higher education.
He worked full-time at a Chevron in Manhattan Beach and went to school full-time so he was usually only home at night. If he passed all of his classes Chevron would reimburse his tuition.
‘When the semester was almost over he would be worrying that he wasn’t going to pass his classes he would say ‘babe we really need the money’,’ Acosta said.
‘Then he would come home with three A’s and a B that would crack me up.’ Despite his busy schedule it didn’t mean he always made time for his son Alexander, said Acosta.
‘You know how some mothers tell their husbands ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ well I never had to do that with Fernando,’ Acosta said. ‘He was the most caring father when he was around him.’
When things would get tough or those around Moreno would get frustrated he would always say ‘life’s a circus’ Acosta recounted.
For Moreno, she said, a perfect day would be a day spent surfing without a care in the world. Spanish-language soap opera’s was one of Moreno’s guilty pleasures.
‘Not a lot of people knew and he would be so embarrassed if he knew I told people, but he loved watching novellas together,’ Acosta said. ‘I sometimes missed them on Friday and when I would see him on Saturday he would fill me in.’
Moreno is survived by his eleven brothers and sisters and his mother, Lorena Alvarez. His father passed away when he was twelve. Moreno was also the first in his family to go to college.
‘I told him I was very proud of him and that I was sorry I couldn’t help him go to college,’ his mother Alvarez said. ‘But he told me it’s okay mom I’m going to do it and I’m going to work hard.’
When Moreno was sixteen he started to work at his first job, McDonalds. When he wasn’t working there he would volunteer at his school, his mother said, adding that he was always dedicated to school.
‘He would always follow through with his studies and would always give his brothers and sisters advice.’
When Moreno had the choice he would love to eat hand-made tortillas and red enchiladas. She was proud of the father he became and loved to watch him interact with his son Alex because he was always caring and playful.
Despite the fact that he was in his mid-twenties his personality was very juvenile, Alvarez said. When he would visit her Moreno would always go outside and play with the kids. ‘He would come in joking and playing,’ Alvarez said. ‘He was always very funny and I’m going to miss that, how could I not?’
Moreno’s family is accepting donations; those who wish to help can contact Bryant Ortiz at firstname.lastname@example.org