Widow of church deacon killed by tagger asks public for help
The widow of a church deacon killed when he tried to interrupt taggers spraying graffiti on a building is appealing to the public for help in finding her husband's killer.
Andres Ordonez, 25, whose parents brought him to the United States from Guatemala as a small boy, was shot Sunday with another parishioner after interrupting a woman vandalizing the wall of the Iglesia Principe de Pas, a small evangelical church on Beverly Boulevard.
Ordonez's father-in-law Cirilo Mendez, described him as a sweet-natured, shy kid who became a serious-minded, devout young man. Ordonez was a restaurant cook, but with a 1-year-old son and his 20-year-old wife, Ana, three months pregnant, he wanted to secure their future.
“He wanted to make sure his friend there wouldn’t lack for anything,” Mendez, 45, said, motioning to his grandson, who was capering about the lobby of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Station. “He wanted to be a cop since he was a boy. He wanted to serve the community.”
On Thursday, Mendez, his wife and their daughter, Ana, appealed to the public.
“He has been in this country since he was just a boy. From the bottom of his heart, he was American,” Mendez said. “He felt American. His wife was an American citizen. The life he was going to make was going to be made here.”
“I wasn’t feeling really well that day, so he just went outside and asked me how I was,” she said. “Then he heard some noises.”
Just around the corner, on Reno Street, another parishioner was asking the female tagger to stop scrawling her gang’s name on the church wall. She shoved the parishioner, causing him to stumble. Ordonez and another parishioner were shot when they went to help.
Ana Mendez said she can’t stop thinking about the child who would never meet her father.
“I’m waiting for something beautiful my husband left me,” she said.
As for Nehemias Andres, the son left bereft of his father by a gunman, Mendez said he was far too young to understand what had happened to him.
“He asked for his dad just yesterday,” she said. “I just try to explain to him that he’s up in heaven. I just point up there and the only thing he does is look and say to his daddy, ‘bye-bye.’”
Before he died, Andres Ordonez had planned a “big fiesta” for his son, who in two months will turn 2.
Pastor Rodulfo Hernandez, 58, said the young deacon had been his right hand. But he was also the husband his granddaughter, Ana Mendez, loved. Before services, he would sit or stand by the door and greet fellow parishioners, offering them a blessing.
“He was a young man who always motivated the rest. He had a consoling word for anyone who needed it,” Hernandez said. “He was a young man who was very active in the Lord’s work.”
-- Hector Becerra