Vigil brings together friends, family of teen slain one year ago

Brenda Miramontes was wide awake before dawn Monday thinking about her slain son.

A year ago Monday, 18-year-old David Miramontes died in a hail of gunfire at Bob Baskin Park during a drive-by shooting. He was sitting in a parked car when a bullet struck him in the head.

Brenda Miramontes thought about that at 3 a.m., the time her son was slain.

“I was thinking I wish I could turn back time and stop it,” Miramontes said Monday evening, fighting back tears during the candlelight vigil to honor her son. The vigil was held at Desert Breeze Park on Spring Mountain Road near Cimarron Road.

More than 75 people came to share memories of the young man they thought of as a “gentle giant,” a 6-foot-7-inch friend they called “Dae Dae.”

Brenda Miramontes said the vigil was held at Desert Breeze because Baskin Park had too many “bad memories” associated with it. It’s also the place where her son played organized soccer in his early teens.

The shooting also claimed the life of 19-year-old Chris Luscombe, who lingered for 18 days before dying at University Medical Center. Friends of Luscombe affectionately referred to him as “Superman.” Luscombe was a former prom king and football player at Clark High School. He had dreams of playing in the NFL.

Jessie James Cole, 22, was charged in the drive-by and is scheduled to go to trial July 20 on two counts of murder with a deadly weapon. He’s being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

Charles Cano, the lawyer representing Cole, declined to comment on the case until the trial. But he said the events of June 8, 2008, were indeed sad.

“This is tragic for everybody,” Cano said. “Our sympathies go toward all the family that is involved.”

Cole claimed no memory of the fatal shooting, according to his arrest report.

“I don’t remember doing it, but I guess all the evidence points to me,” Cole told a detention center medical screener after his arrest.

Police said the shooting was in retaliation for an earlier fight at a house party near Rainbow Boulevard and Windmill Lane.

Homicide detectives linked Cole to the shooting with witness statements and ballistic evidence. The casings of .40-caliber bullets found at the park matched those found in Cole’s bedroom and at the site of the party, where several gunshots were also fired, the arrest report said.

In a preliminary hearing in August, witnesses testified that the shooting grew out of a clash between two cliques of girls at the house party.

Witnesses said there were several brawls at party. After the fights ended, two groups taunted each other by telephone and one group used a telephone text message to convey a death threat.

Word spread that the groups were going to fight at Baskin Park, on Oakey Boulevard near Rancho Drive. Several dozen people gathered there after the party.

Las Vegas police Homicide Lt. Lew Roberts warned Monday of the dangers of unsupervised parties during a time of instant communication.

“The bottom line is, in the age of texting and MySpace, if you’re going to throw a party, it needs to be supervised by adults,” Roberts said. “And you have to know who you’re inviting to the party.”

Friends of Miramontes have learned from his death, which many described as senseless.

“He made other people wisen up,” said Miramontes’ half-brother Trevor Wartenberg. “People saw someone with so much potential go down without a chance.”

Wartenberg, 18, said he decided to improve himself by working a full-time job at his family’s window treatments business.

Cameo Wilson, 20, was friends with Miramontes for 11 years. He said he’s learned a lot from the shooting.

“I try to stay away from partying, slow down the drinking,” Wilson said. “Just stay away from stupid crowds.”

Friends Monday recalled a “hilarious” friend who thought of others. Miramontes was meticulous about his looks, and worked hard to stockpile a $2,500 collection of size 13 and 14 shoes.

Brenda Miramontes said she cries for her son almost every day.

As tough as it is for some parents to do, they need to know where their children are at all times, she said. Her son wouldn’t have been at the scene of the shooting if she strictly enforced his curfew.

“None of those kids should have been at that park at 3 a.m.,” she said. “My son shouldn’t have been there.”

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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