A story for every victim

Jesus Manuel Nunez, 38

Jesus Manuel Nuñez, a 38-year-old Latino, died Tuesday, Feb. 20, after he was stabbed at Del Amo Boulevard and Violeta Avenue in Lakewood, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Nuñez and his girlfriend were walking home from a doughnut shop around 1:15 a.m. when a dark sedan stopped alongside them and a man, a woman and a female juvenile got out, demanding their property, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza. 

In the ensuing struggle, one of the three stabbed Nuñez in the torso, Mendoza said. They then took a few items — Mendoza said he couldn’t specify what was taken — and got back in the car, driving south on Violeta Avenue.

Nuñez was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:59 a.m., according to coroner’s records. His girlfriend was not injured.

The following day, two of the suspects — Arturo Vasquez, a 29-year-old Latino from La Mirada, and Amber Jessica Jaime, a 26-year-old Latina from Yucca Valley — were arrested on suspicion of murder, Mendoza said. 

They each were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit a crime and attempted robbery and are being held without bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned March 15. 

Mendoza said the three did not know Nuñez and his girlfriend. “They just saw them out walking by themselves and figured they’d be a good target,” Mendoza said. “That could have been you or I walking home from the doughnut shop.”

During a vigil for Nuñez on Feb. 23, friends and family lit candles for the man they called “Jessie” and released balloons in his memory, according to ABC7 Eyewitness News.

“He was protecting his girlfriend, and they ended up getting him,” Nuñez’s brother, Johnny Nuñez, told ABC7. “He died nobly. He wanted to help her, protect her, put himself in front of her and take care of her.” 

A friend, Louise Conley, said Nuñez cared about helping others. “He, in fact, even in death, is helping somebody. … actually two people,” she said, noting that he was an organ donor. 

Investigators still are searching for the third suspect in the attack, a female juvenile, Mendoza said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Photo: Jesus Nuñez is seen in a self-portrait he took in the summer of 2017.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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