OMAHA (KPTM)- Hundreds of people took a stand against recent violence in Omaha. Family, friends and strangers came together to remember Gilberto Hernandez-Vazquez, an ice cream cart vendor who was shot and killed in South Omaha a week ago.
They gathered for a vigil at 24th and N streets and then walked to 19th and Y streets, the same spot Hernandez-Vazques was killed, while he was selling ice cream last Thursday night.
The hundreds from all across the city had one common message: they won't tolerate violence in their neighborhood. But even still, there was comfort in the tragedy.
"It feels good, it feels good. At first it was kind of sad, but seeing all this support, it gives you a sense of hope," said prayer walk coordinator, Amanda Ponce.
Since Hernandez-Vazquez's death, several people living in South Omaha have organized fund raisers for his family. One of the biggest is a garage sale at a South Omaha school.
One family friend says the money will mainly help the victim's wife, who just moved to the country to be closer to him.
"It's just sad that he took all this time throughout his life to get his family here and finally he gets his wife here and this tragedy had to happen and he got shot during the job. It's just very tragic," said loyal customer, Guillermo Rodriguez.
The death of Hernandez-Vazquez has hundreds still in disbelief. So they're doing every little bit they can to help the family. So far, the community has exceeded their expectations of fundraising. Nearly $1,500 and counting have been made on just a garage sale, bake sale, and other donations. But even with that success, the tragedy is still painful to think about.
"I don't see how someone could be so heartless and just kill a man and destroy a family like that," said Rodriguez.
And for many, it hasn't been easy to accept the fact that their favorite ice cream man is gone.
"He would walk by my house pretty much every day and it was funny because every time I would buy a popsicle from him he would urge me to buy another one, like maybe one for later. And it's tragic that I won't be able to do that anymore," said Rodriguez.
For the community, it wasn't just about him selling ice cream. He was considered a role model, someone who was looked up to, from all ages.
"He was a very nice man. He was just so easy to get along with. He was just the lollipop man," said 88th grader, Yajaria Villagomez.
"He was nice, kind. And I'm sad because he didn't deserve to die," said seven-year-old, Alexis Villagomez.
And they're hoping that justice will one day be served.
"Whoever shot him, I hope they get caught because no one deserves something like that," said Rodriguez.
Though the tragedy has left an entire community in mourning, the unity in his honor has made a lasting impression on the lives of many.
"I'm proud I could help him out because I'm sure that if something like that happened to our family, we would like people to help us out and reach out for us," said Yajaria.
"He gave me more than ice cream and that's something I will never forget," said Rodriguez.
The last day of the garage sale is at Assumption Guadaupe School and runs through Sunday until noon. It will be held outside the school's gym near 22nd and U streets. Also, several South Omaha organizations will have a benefit dinner on September 99th at the Hy-Vee on 35th and I streets from 12-5pm. Donations are also welcomed at any First National Bank branch.
Police say they haven't made any arrests in the case. If you have information, call Crimestoppers at 444-STOP.
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