A story for every victim

Richard Vidaurry: A 'simple, but happy' life

Each morning, Richard Vidaurry followed a routine. He’d pick up breakfast from McDonald's, park near the San Pedro auto shop where he worked, walk through the door and eat. Inside, he’d turn on the radio and go to work restoring vintage cars.

On Tuesday, May 7, Vidaurry, a 55-year-old Latino, never made it inside the shop.

Los Angeles police found him dead with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, according to L.A. County coroner’s records. Only a few witnesses saw the suspected gunman, clad in a dark hoodie and a mask, leave the area in the 400 block of West 5th Street in San Pedro, said LAPD Det. Greg Halka.

Detectives are attempting to piece together why Vidaurry was killed at 8:25 a.m. on that slightly cloudy morning near the heart of downtown San Pedro.

“We haven’t found anything in his background that would lead us to believe that someone could do this kind of thing,” Halka said.  “He was really well-respected within his business. He seemed like a pretty stand-up individual.”

Lashere Clark of San Pedro worked with Vidaurry, whom he met nearly 30 years ago at a Long Beach hydraulics shop.

“That’s all I’ve ever known him to do, is build cars,” Clark said. “He was very good at what he did.”

On the day of the killing, Clark, 47,  arrived to yellow police tape blocking off the shop. Clark was shocked. He described Vidaurry as a “perfectionist” who was particular about who he worked for.

“He would only deal with people who were even-keeled,” he said.

Vidaurry was the oldest of eight siblings. He grew up in El Centro, but after a brief stint in the Army, he migrated to Los Angeles, said his brother, Augustine Vidaurry. He said the last time he saw his brother was Super Bowl weekend.

That Saturday, there was a celebration in Chino Hills, then a few siblings went to Richard’s apartment to hang out.  His brother, David, was there, too.

David said Richard cooked pancakes, eggs and bacon the day of the game. When David was about to leave, Richard said he’d give him money for gas. David refused,  but Richard insisted.

“He said take it, brother,” David said recently, his voice breaking. 

Richard, David and his brother Joe had plans to go to a car show in Sacramento on Memorial Day weekend,  but instead, the family held a funeral for Richard. 

“He lived a happy life,” David said. “A simple life, but it was happy.”

Anyone with information can call Halka at (310) 726-7880. Anonymous tippers can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Richard Vidaurry Credit: Courtesy of Vidaurry family

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