Death came down Vermont Avenue in a black sedan.
From the car’s window, Las Vegas police have said, the barrel of a gun emerged. Then, a single gunshot.
It happened near the intersection of Minnesota Street and Washington Avenue, not far from Jose de Jesus Alatorre Guzman’s childhood home. He was walking to his girlfriend’s house, a route that he had taken many times before, according to his mother, Edith Guzman.
As the car sped away, at 9:17 p.m., the 19-year-old man dialed 911. He had been shot once in the chest.
He was killed in cold blood, Sgt. Joshua Stark said this week, just days ahead of the third anniversary of his death on May 11, 2016.
The man behind the wheel of the black car has never been identified. Although he and Alatorre Guzman spoke briefly before the shooting, detectives believe the killing was a random act of violence or perhaps even a case of mistaken identity.
“We don’t think he was targeted by any means,” homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s frustrating because you have a 19-year-old kid who by all accounts was a good kid and was senselessly murdered.”
Alatorre Guzman was rushed to University Medical Center that night but was later pronounced dead after his organs were donated.
Had he survived, he would have spent that summer interning at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center ahead of his freshman year at UNLV, where he had earned a scholarship to study sports medicine, his family said.
Alatorre Guzman was shot days after Mother’s Day that year in 2016, a day that, according to his mom, was made special by her youngest son. He had taken the entire family out for brunch and even paid for the meal.
“He was always the one making the plans,” she said Thursday.
But every year since, Edith Guzman said, she has buried the thought of Mother’s Day. And this year will be no different, she said. She will spend the day, just like any other, praying that her son’s killer will be caught.
“He’s running, but he knows what he did,” she said.
While the case has gone cold, Spencer said he’s confident that the mother’s pleas have not fallen on deaf ears.
“There’s somebody out there that the shooter has bragged to, and they just haven’t come forward,” he said.
But in the absence of any strong leads, the Metropolitan Police Department has tried “a new investigative technique” in an effort to close the case. Spencer declined to elaborate but said he hopes “something will come from that.”
In the meantime, Edith Guzman said she and her family will never stop looking for her son’s killer.
“I will not run away. I’m praying to God very strongly,” she said. “I know that we’re not going to stop.”
Crying now, she looked up and took a deep breath.
If only she could speak to her son one last time, she would tell him, “I love you so much, my little tiny.”
“But he knows,” she whispered, nodding her head. “He knows.”