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Mother: Son was gentle giant who shunned spotlight

The snapshots captured the typical moments in an 18-year-old’s life.

Relaxing at the beach. Posing in a tuxedo before a school dance. Hanging out with friends.

But mixed among the photos of good times were pictures illustrating an untimely death.

A candlelight vigil. Mourning friends.

Together, the photos on the collages displayed at Palm Mortuary on Wednesday told the story of David Miramontes, who was killed early Sunday in a drive-by shooting at Bob Baskin Park in Las Vegas. Another teen was critically injured in the incident.

"You’re not supposed to bury your children," said his tearful mother moments after viewing his body for the first time. "They’re supposed to bury us."

Speaking to the media in an interview before the funeral, Brenda Miramontes remembered her son as a gentle giant. He stood 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 230 pounds, but he was a fun-loving kid who was quick with a smile and liked to make people laugh, she said.

He was meticulous about his looks and took great care of his clothes, even insisting on hang-drying his clothes so they didn’t fade or shrink in the dryer, she said.

He owned a $2,500 collection of size 13 and 14 shoes, each of them spotless, she said. He paid for it all himself by working and saving his money, she said.

He did not like receiving attention, she said.

"He would be saying, ‘Shut up, Mom.’ He would be so embarrassed," Miramontes said.

David Miramontes was sitting in a car at the park when he was shot in the head. He was on crutches because he broke his leg in a dirt bike crash the day before, his mother said.

Las Vegas police arrested 21-year-old Jessie James Cole Tuesday on murder and other charges in the shooting, which was sparked by a fight at a party earlier in the night.

The other shooting victim, 19-year-old Christopher Luscombe, remained in critical condition at University Medical Center on Wednesday.

Early in her interview, Brenda Miramontes asked about Luscombe.

"Is he going to make it?" Miramontes asked. "That boy is suffering. At least my baby didn’t suffer."

Her son, who was nicknamed Dae Dae by a niece who couldn’t pronounce his name, was arrested at 17 and charged as a juvenile. Brenda Miramontes would not reveal details of the arrest, saying only that her son took the blame for something illegal police found in a car to protect the adult driver.

David Miramontes met all the conditions of probation, which was set to end early, she said.

"He paid the price," she said.

Brenda Miramontes said she didn’t know what the future had held for her son beyond an upcoming surgery to correct an excess amount of cartilage in his chest, a painful condition that required daily medication, she said.

At the funeral, groups of teenagers pulled up in cars with "R.I.P. Dae Dae" written on the windows.

Friend and neighbor Aaron Fletcher, 19, said the cramped chapel filled with mourners, was a testament to David Miramontes’ life.

"It shows how many people cared about one person and how many people he touched," Fletcher said.

"My friend was shot because of somebody else’s fight. It was not his fault. It was not his fight," he said.

The funeral service was delayed by an argument between Brenda Miramontes and another woman, who wanted to kiss the body despite requests not to do so. The argument ended when the woman stormed off, clutching a painted cross that had been resting near the casket.

After the service, Brenda Miramontes planned to have her son’s body cremated and hold a beach party in Southern California before scattering his ashes in the Pacific Ocean, which is what he wanted, she said.

The teen’s father, Don Miramontes, works for TAMCO Steel in Southern California. The company melts down guns confiscated by Southern California police agencies and turns them into steel reinforcing bar for construction. His son’s death left him struggling to comprehend the deadly link between teenagers and gun violence.

"All this is senseless," he said.

Review-Journal reporter Maggie Lillis contributed to this report. Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes@reviewjournal. com or 702-383-0281.

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