■ By Chris Smith / Advisory Editor
A shooting that happened just three days after Christmas has left a 28-year-old Hemet man dead and his family grieving.
Juan Ernesto Romero died Dec. 29 in Riverside University Medical Center after being shot in the chest and arm, according to authorities. He was found wounded about 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, in the 100 block of N. Tahquitz Avenue, just north of Florida Avenue near the Circle K gas station.
Police responded when witnesses called 911 reporting that someone had fired gunshots nearby. A passerby reportedly drove Romero to Hemet Valley Medical Center in a pickup truck, but he was soon transferred to the University Medical Center in Riverside where he died a short time later.
Officers immediately conducted a search of the area for the person who shot Romero but were unable to locate the shooter. Detectives scoured the scene and collected evidence to help in the quest to solve the case, but are asking for the public’s assistance in providing a description of the killer or killers. Police reportedly cordoned off Tahquitz Avenue and Las Lunas Street between Florida and Latham avenues following the shooting.
No motive has been established, but reports published by Riverside County News Source indicated Romero may have been out walking when someone started shooting at him. After being shot, Romero reportedly jumped over a fence into a resident’s yard in the area of Gilbert Street and Florida Avenue in an attempt to escape his assailants.
Meanwhile, Romero’s family has set up a Go Fund Me account to help with burial expenses. At press time, donors had contributed $1200 toward the family’s goal of $5,000. Anyone wishing to contribute can visit https://tinyurl.com/JuanErnestoRomero.
Romero leaves behind a wife and three children – a 10-month old daughter, 2-year-old son, and 7-year-old stepson. Romero was said to be a hard worker who was employed as a machine operator at Sigma Stretch Film in Riverside.
“Put our angel to rest,” his family appeals on the Go Fund Me page. “It weighs heavy on our hearts to accept the fact that my mother’s one and only son, as well as our family’s favorite, is no longer with us. He has now become Our Angel due to life’s unexpected tragedies.”
Romero’s wife indicated to The Valley Chronicle that the family isn’t releasing any information about Romero’s funeral services.
Anyone with information on Romero’s death is encouraged to call Investigator Matt Gomez at 951-765-2422 or call the Hemet Police Anonymous Tip Line, or provide information through CrimeStoppers.