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James Dean arrested on homicide charges in Central Fresno

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Police say 25-year-old James Dean killed Velasco, and he is now in jail facing murder charges. (KFSN)

Augustine "Jay" Velasco was murdered in central Fresno near Vassar and San Pablo Avenues over the weekend.

Loved ones say he was standing up for his daughter during a custody exchange when an altercation turned deadly. Police say 25-year-old James Dean killed Velasco, and he is now in jail facing murder charges.

However, Velasco's family says they don't know why the suspect would take the life of someone who was loved by many. Heartbreak tore through the family Monday night as they stood outside holding candles and remembering their loved one.

The 43-year-old father of six and grandfather of two was murdered outside of his apartment in central Fresno. And it left his cousin Janie in tears wondering why.

"You just don't know when they're going take somebody. You just don't know when they're going to take somebody from you," she said. "It's hard."

And it's hard for his daughter-in-law.

"It just broke me," Gulizabeth Flores said. "And it was in front of my house which is even more sadder because I can't go outside without breaking down."

She says Velasco was protecting his daughter Saturday night after his ex-wife and her boyfriend showed up to their apartment, refusing to hand over her sister-in-law's child during a custody exchange.

"That's when she went crying to the car and my father-in-law was in there with her boyfriend and she got in there telling him, 'That's messed up, give me my granddaughter,' and that's how everything took place," she said.

That heated argument ended in gunshots and Velasco was left on the ground fighting for his life. Police say Dean is the man who pulled the trigger. He was arrested one day later.

Now family members are planning a funeral, and his older brother Richard Arechiga says having to go through this is tough.

"It gets you angry," he said. "It gets you upset, but what do you do? To me, it doesn't seem like he's gone. But I guess it'll sink in later."

But for Velasco's daughter-in-law and son, the memory of what happened will never leave because the tragedy happened just feet away from their front door.

"He was the last person that I would think would get shot," Flores said. "He wasn't a violent person. He was nothing, not violent, just a hard working man."

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homicide investigationfresnoFresno - Central
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