Slain Inglewood dad remembered as police set up family aid funds
When Filimon Lamas, 33, would clock in to work at Chips cafe, he donned the same retro uniform as the servers. Customers saw "just another waiter," when in reality he was one of the owners.
"His role was to never be recognized as superior," Carolina Jimenez, his sister-in-law, said at a news conference Tuesday before breaking into tears.
Grieving family members gathered outside the 1950s-themed diner in Hawthorne to remember Lamas and his 4-year-old son, who were killed in a weekend rampage in which five members of the Inglewood family were shot by a masked gunman believed to be wearing body armor.
Two police departments also announced that they had set up assistance funds for the surviving members.
"This is our way to reach out and give this beautiful family -- the recovering wife, the recovering children -- a start," Hawthorne Police Chief Robert Fager said. "A start that could be a brighter future down the road, but right now feels like their world is caved in."
Authorities believe that 55-year-old Desmond John Moses, who rented a bungalow on the same property as the family's residence, shot the five family members about 4 a.m. Saturday then set fire to his own home.
Moses apparently blamed them for an eviction notice he had received from their landlord.
Authorities uncovered a body they believe to be Moses', clad in body armor and clutching a revolver with a bullet wound to the head, amid the ashes of his home.
Authorities said parents Lamas and Gloria Jimenez, 28, both tried to protect their four children when the shooting started. Lamas was found slumped over three of his children; Jimenez, despite being shot in both legs and her pelvis, jumped a fence and ran from the home cradling their 4-year-old son, who had been shot in the head.
"He was a hero," his sister Emma Lamas said.
Jimenez spoke out Monday for the first time since the Saturday shooting, saying it was a "very sad time" for her family. She thanked her community, emergency responders and medical staff "for their ongoing support."
"We appreciate your kind words and thoughts and quick response for our care," she said in a statement. "We feel blessed to have so many people there for us."
She was in good condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, hospital staff said. The couple's 7-year-old daughter, who was shot in the chest, was in fair condition at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. Their 6-year-old son, who was shot in the pelvis, was released from the hospital Sunday. An 8-year-old son was not injured in the attack.
Outside the cafe Tuesday, surrounded by photos of the family, community leaders and family members repeated stories of a devoted father who gave back to his community. Lamas had received an award from the city of Hawthorne after he donated meals to the city.
"He represented an ideal that I think everybody professes to want to embellish in their own lives," Fager said. "He was a hard-working, loving, dedicated family man."
The Inglewood Police Department set up a fund for the family and said donations can be made to the Lamas Family Donation Fund, account No. 5223, at the ICE Federal Credit Union: 1 West Manchester Boulevard, Suite 603, Inglewood, CA 90301. For more information call (310) 412-5493.
The Hawthorne Police Department also announced it had set up a Jimenez/Lamas Donation Fund. According to a news release, donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch. The account number is 4122412588.
-- Angel Jennings in Hawthorne