(Authored by Ramon “Mundo” Mendoza, a former East Los Angeles gang member who was a high-ranking “made” member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, ultimately defecting from “the life”)

On September 2, 2015, on a downtown Pueblo, Colorado street, Isaiah Matthew Vialpando was shot to death by someone he did not know.  His assailants were participating in what is commonly referred to as a “drive by” shooting.  This typically describes vehicular incursions upon rival gang members in which the attackers use firearms.  Some are car-to-car shootouts and many are calculated ambushes with the element of surprise being paramount.  In all these gang-related cases, the intent is to pursue a known adversary with the premeditated intent of seriously harming or terminating his life.

Nowhere in the street playbook of any gang is there a provision for locating a person who “looks like” an intended gang target; neither is any gang member encouraged to simply seek out and destroy the driver of a vehicle that “resembles” the car of a rival gang member.  Yet this is precisely what occurred in broad daylight on that dark September day in Pueblo.

Isaiah was a college student and member of a Mariachi group that toured the country spreading joy to music lovers in the Southwest.  A well-adjusted 20-year old young man, Isaiah was driving from school when he was confronted by another vehicle and gunshots rang out.  In the twinkling of an eye, his life on earth was snuffed out.

The word cobarde – coward – falls woefully short of describing these miserable transmitters of unmitigated grief.  In the end, like all of us, the perpetrators of indiscriminate acts of murder committed against innocents ultimately undergo an accounting to the Law, and more importantly, to the Lord above.

The story of Isaiah, and all the “Isaiah’s” that have gone before – and after – is an unfinished saga we will address and target in future projects so please stay tuned.  Remember, gang violence does not only touch the mean streets of L.A., Chicago, and New York – the Big Cities – but it can touch ANYONE, even someone in the Law Enforcement community.

In the end, only our Lord Jesus can wash away Robert and Melissa’s tears of grief and mend their broken hearts – and all those parents and families who bear similar burdens.  The redeeming news is, Darkness will never prevail.

Que viva Isaiah! (Isaiah Lives!)

What Man Meant For Evil, God Meant For Good (Genesis 50:20)

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