Friends and family remember Brian Cervantes in Firebaugh

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Brian Cervantes, 21, was killed Monday night -- and Saturday night those close to Cervantes lit candles, released balloons, and shared memories. (KFSN)

Brian Cervantes, 21, was killed Monday night -- and Saturday night those close to him lit candles, released balloons, and shared memories.

The vigil took place by the skate park because, according to his family, skating was his pastime. He was a gifted athlete, but friends and family say his smile alone was a gift that will be missed.

Under beautiful skies, friends and family members of 21-year-old Brian Cervantes released balloons in his memory. Many cried, while others watched silently.

"We're hanging in there, we're hanging in there, yeah," said Alex Cervantes, Brian's brother.

Brian was the youngest of four. His brother Alex says he was a great friend, brother, and son. "He protected me, I protected him, and he was like a son. I didn't consider Brian a brother, he was a son to me."

But no one could protect Cervantes on Monday night, when he was gunned down at a Mendota home by a suspect Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies are still working to identify. They searched inside the home the following day revealed few clues as to what happened.

Their mother, grieving and emotional Saturday night, is holding up.

"It is a tragedy the way that it happened, but she sees it as celebrating her son's life," said Alex.

Which isn't hard to do for a person who friends and family members say had a contagious smile.

"People would just come up to him to try and make him laugh just so that he gave out that smile and that's the biggest thing that's going to be missed," said Alex.

As night fell, candles were lit in memory of a friend, son, and brother that will be forever missed.

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