Rene Alejandro Lupian, 22
Rene Alejandro Lupian, a 22-year-old Latino, was fatally shot on Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the 900 block of South Concourse Avenue in East Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.
Investigators believe that the shooting stemmed from a robbery, and that the attacker fled with Lupian's dark-colored Jansport backpack, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Det. Theo Baljet.
His older sister, Christian Lupian, said she thinks the robber might have been attracted by her brother's necklace, which was lying on the ground when officers found him.
"I think he tried to snatch it, rip it off him," Christian said. "It was gold, with a cross, something our grandma gave to him before she passed away six months ago. I would tell him sometimes, 'Dude, don't wear that out,' but he was so proud to wear it. It really meant a lot to him."
Lupian worked at the Pico Rivera In-N-Out Burger and when his shift was over Wednesday, he got a ride to a spot near his Montebello home, Baljet said.
Christian said her brother often stopped at a Little Caesar's a few blocks from their home after work to bring home pizzas to the family. It's not clear whether he did so that evening, she said. Investigators believe he set out with his backpack to walk the rest of the way home around 10:30 p.m., Baljet said.
What happened next is unclear. Residents told investigators they heard yelling and then saw someone punch Lupian and shoot him.
The attacker, described as a Latino in his 20s, took Lupian's backpack and ran away, Baljet said. A white compact vehicle was seen leaving the area around the same time, he said, but it's not known whether it was connected to the shooting.
People in the neighborhood called 911 and Lupian was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m., according to coroner's records. The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds to the head and neck.
Lupian was helping his mother with household bills, his sister said. Friends of the family have started an online fundraiser to help cover burial costs and other expenses.
Lupian spent most of his childhood in Chino Hills, his sister said. After their parents divorced, they moved with their mom and younger twin brothers to Mar Vista. He loved music, especially the Doors, and was an inspiration to his 15-year-old brothers, she said.
"He had a huge heart and a contagious smile. He was extremely polite and kind, and our brothers looked up to him very, very much."
Lupian graduated from University High School in Venice and studied for a year at Antioch University, "taking a lot of writing classes," his sister said.
"He really like writing, especially writing poems, but he didn't know what to do with it," she said. "He would just write poems and stuff for himself, and share them with me. He was actually really, really good."
Two years ago the family moved to Montebello and Lupian focused on his job at In-N-Out while he tried to decide his future career. "He was providing some support for my mom and he had applied to a trade school. He thought he wanted to be an electrician but he was undecided. He was just 22 and still trying to figure things out."
Anyone who sees Lupian's dark-colored Jansport backpack should call investigators at the sheriff's Homicide Bureau, (323) 890-5500, Baljet said. Lupian changed his shirt before he went home, so it's possible the backpack will have an In-N-Out work shirt inside, he said.
Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Photo: Rene Lupian poses in his sister's straw hat during a family vacation in Ensenada, Mexico, in June 2017. Lupian family photo.