Youth pastor's slaying is the latest in a deadly year for Pomona
Eddie Reyes was just a 12-year-old in the school lunch line when Daniel Diaz shook his hand, introduced himself and asked Reyes about God.
Twenty years after the pair first met, Diaz was still reaching out to young people. His ability to connect with youths took the longtime friends to the corner of Park and Mayfair avenues in Pomona on Nov. 11, where police say Diaz was shot to death by a lone gunman on foot.
Diaz's killing — just hours after about 200 people gathered for an anti-violence rally at Ganesha High School in Pomona — was the latest in what police and community leaders are calling the worst year of violence in the city's recent history.
"I'm just kind of in disbelief," said Connie Jimenez, whose son Carlos was killed in a still-unsolved homicide in May 2011. "It's a cycle."
Diaz was shot about 12:45 a.m. Monday. He was a passenger in Reyes' car while the pair dropped off three boys who are a part of Diaz's youth ministry at New Beginnings Community Church in Baldwin Park. The group was celebrating Reyes' 32nd birthday and one of the boys' recent graduation from a youth program. Diaz had turned 33 a week earlier.
The Pomona slaying is the latest homicide to hit the city, which has seen a sharp increase in homicides over the last two years. Read more here.
Photo: Lynna Moreno places a wreath at a makeshift memorial for a youth pastor Daniel Diaz who was shot and killed at the intersection of Park Avenue and Mayfair Street in Pomona. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times