Filipino-American delivery driver remembered in memorial after fatal shooting in California

  • , by Balikbayan Store
  • 1 min reading time

The family and friends of Expedito "Jay X" de Leon, a Filipino-American delivery driver, gathered in Irvine, California, to honor his memory after he was tragically shot to death. Nearly a hundred people, many of them on mountain bikes, participated in an early morning ride in Aliso Viejo, one of De Leon’s favorite pastimes.

"It’s heartwarming," expressed Nikko Sevilla, a close family friend. "That's what he loves and he got me into the sport. So seeing the mountain bike community gather round, it’s heartwarming" (ABS-CBN News).

De Leon, originally from Ormoc in the Eastern Philippines, moved to the U.S. as a teenager. He served as a U.S. Army veteran and worked as a UPS driver for 27 years. Tragically, he was killed on May 16 while on his delivery route.

Authorities identified the shooter as De Leon’s childhood friend and fellow UPS employee, Rhean Fontanoza. Fontanoza, who was on disability leave, allegedly used a work computer to track De Leon. Police have not yet disclosed the motive behind the shooting. De Leon was shot 14 times at an industrial park in Irvine where his UPS truck was parked.

Fontanoza faces charges of murder with special circumstance enhancements and is set to appear in court for arraignment and a bail hearing on June 10. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

"We are all still in shock," said Sevilla. "Many questions remain about why such a crime could take place."

As loved ones continue to mourn, a makeshift memorial near the site of the incident includes UPS uniforms, a toy truck, photos of De Leon, flowers, candles, and messages of gratitude and remembrance.

"[De Leon] was just a super friendly guy," Sevilla shared. "He’s just the friendly neighborhood Jay."

A crowdfunding campaign initiated by another coworker has garnered support from colleagues, friends, and customers, leaving positive messages and contributions.

De Leon, aged 50, is survived by his wife and two adult children. Friends noted he was eagerly anticipating early retirement. He will be laid to rest later this week.

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