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Monrovia family mourns loss of loved one killed while trying to defuse argument

Family of Monrovia father murdered while trying to defuse argument speaks out
Family of Monrovia father murdered while trying to defuse argument speaks out 02:33

A Monrovia family continues to mourn after their loved one was gunned down while trying to defuse an argument outside of his home last weekend

"We had our whole life planned out," said Darlene Sarti, the wife of 38-year-old Nicolas Gandara, a father of six who was killed on Sunday June 2. "We would like, make these scenarios of what it was going to be like when we were old and how many grandkids we were going to have. All these plans that we had for the future."

Nicolas Gandara, 38, and one of his children. Elliot Jung

She says that Gandara always tried to do the right thing, which led to his untimely death when he tried to defuse an argument that had broken out between one of his neighbors and a homeless man who lived at an encampment in the area. 

"I ran to my neighbor and knocked on her door and asked her to take my kids, "Sarti recalled. "We were all outside."

After the shooting, 42-year-old Christoper Wiggan ran from the area. He was captured a short time later after a massive search effort that saw multiple law enforcement agencies and some SWAT members scouring the area late Sunday evening. 

Wiggan now faces murder charges after pleading not guilty in court on Friday. If convicted as charged he faces life in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. 

"I want him back and every morning when I wake up it's like, he's gone," Sarti said. "It's a constant reminder every morning that he's gone."

Investigators at the scene where a man was found dead in Monrovia.  KCAL News

She says that the homeless encampment, located under an underpass near their home, has been a longstanding issue in the neighborhood, prompting her family attorney to launch an investigation into why nothing was ever done about it. 

"This can't happen next to people's homes right here," said Elliot Jung, who represents the family. "If people are living in this underpass, that is going to be a big issue and we know that there's been complaints about this in the past."

With each passing day, Sarti says things only get harder as she tries to wade through life without Gandara by her side.

"I have to look at my kids and just think like, 'I am sorry. You guys aren't going to know what it is to grow up with your dad.'"

An online fundraiser to help the family cover expenses can be found by searching for the terms "Nicolas Gandara's Memorial Fund."

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