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RACINE — Ask any of his friends and family, and they’ll tell you Jose Angel Padilla, 19, had big dreams and worked hard to achieve them.

He graduated from J.I. Case high school in 2018 and had just completed his first year at Gateway Technical College, where he was studying in hopes of becoming a police officer.

His girlfriend of almost four years, Saleysia Murillo, 19, said he was excited about a new job — her father said Angel Padilla always had two jobs — and was planning to save up for a new truck.

That was before he was shot and killed at about 8 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of 12th and Center streets, about two blocks from his home.

During a vigil on Sunday at the corner where he was killed, his sister, Karina Angel Padilla, 23, called for justice.

“He didn’t deserve what happened,” said Karina. “It makes me mad that he didn’t have a chance to live his life, to get married, have kids, grow up to be a man.”

Murillo said she met him through mutual friends. She described him as sweet and kind.

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“He was just a great person all around,” she said. “He had a great heart. He had a beautiful smile.”

Dozens of friends and family members wept at the vigil, some wearing T-shirts depicting Jose in heaven. His younger brother Ivan, 14, held a poster board plastered with photos of Angel. In all of them, he is smiling.

His parents, Maria Padilla and Jose Angel Reyes, were inconsolable.

Pastor Prentiss Robbins of New Beginnings of Faith, 2711 19th St., organizes such vigils for the Racine Interfaith Coalition. He voiced his frustration with the senseless violence.

“We’re having too many violent deaths in this community, day after day,” said Robbins. “How many other people will we allow this to happen to?”

One man in handcuffs was observed being led from the scene just after 9 p.m. Wednesday, before he was driven away in a police vehicle. As of Sunday, no one has been charged for Jose Angel Padilla’s death.

The funeral for Jose Angel Padilla is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Strouf Funeral Home, 1001 High St.

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Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.