The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Looking for answers

Alex+Hoben%2FThe+Collegian+TR+ESOL+instructor+Lourdes+Laguna+holds+the+graduation+photo+of+her+son+Luis+Carlos+Laguna+Jr.+The+TCC+student+was+murdered+after+a+ranch+party+on+November+18+in+Fort+Worth
Alex Hoben/The Collegian TR ESOL instructor Lourdes Laguna holds the graduation photo of her son Luis Carlos Laguna Jr. The TCC student was murdered after a ranch party on November 18 in Fort Worth

HOPE SMITH
editor-in-chief
hope.smith393@my.tccd.edu

It was a knock at Lourdes Laguna’s door around 4 a.m. that told her something was not right.  

When she opened the door, her son’s best friend told her that he was not responding to his messages. Her fears were confirmed when they found him in the hospital in critical condition.  

“Nobody comes to knock on a door with good news,” she said.  

TCC student Luis Carlos Laguna Jr., who went by Carlos, was at a ranch party on Northwest 35st Street, in Fort Worth on Nov. 18 with two friends to see the band Nivel Codiciado. At 2 a.m., an altercation occurred involving a group of Hispanic males and females that led to Carlos being shot in his truck while attempting to leave the parking lot. He later died in the ICU.  

 More than two months later, no arrest has been made and the family is still seeking justice.  

According to Fort Worth Police Department Detective John Sullivan, there was no clear motive but multiple witnesses at the altercation.  

“Somebody in that group witnessed this, and I think that what I’m trying to get across is they need to come forward and tell me,”he said.  

Carlos was studying to get his Associate of Arts degree and join the Navy. He was respectful and independent, and fiercely loving of his family and siblings. Lourdes Laguna, an ESOL instructor at TR Campus, explained that he loved to dance and did not need a dance floor to do it.  

“He lit up the room,” Laguna said. “Anywhere he went, he made a friend.”  

He had a truck that he loved, a black 2008 single cab Silverado that he used to work on with his father. She explained that he had his truck lowered, while his best friend had his own truck lifted. They often spent time working on their trucks together.  

“They just had a good working relationship,” she said. “They were like brothers.”  

His girlfriend, South student April Muniz, also said that he was goofy and loving. She said it was still hard talking about him, but she spends time with his family talking about what they remember about Carlos.  

“Together it’s okay,” she said. “We talk about him, we laugh together and share memories about him. But some of those memories make us sad.”  

Laguna explained that Carlos would want to be remembered for his smile, his love of music and his truck.  

“He wanted to learn more about his Hispanic roots, which is why he listened to all this music,” she said. “His goal was to learn more about his heritage. He was very much into that. And that’s why he went to the concert.” 

Laguna has had to stay strong for her family and ensure that her children are supported during this time.  

“My family comes from a long line of traditional people,” she said. “We don’t believe in seeking help or getting counseling, but this one was hard. This one, we’re definitely getting help for.” 

Carlos’ older sister, Kathi Perez, said she always saw him as strong-minded. 

“He has always been very blunt – very honest – so he’ll tell you the truth,” she said. “And he’s very upfront about how he feels. He’s always been about doing the right thing.” 

Her favorite memory with him was the day she took his high school graduation pictures. She said they didn’t often get to hang out together, but that day they had been able to have fun and laugh.  

She explained that the bracelets he always had on his wrist were significant to him and his family. He had a red bracelet he always wore that had St. Benedict on it, the saint he chose for his confirmation.  

Kathi said her father made replicas of the bracelet and gave them to the immediate family at Carlos’ funeral.  

“He said, ‘If there’s ever a point where you miss him, or you are thinking about him, just look at your bracelet,’” she said.  

The day Carlos was shot, she explained she was at the Fort Worth Stockyards with friends. On her way back, the driver made a detour to check on a friend who had been in a car accident.  

“Where the car accident happened ended up being just four minutes away from where my little brother was when he got shot,” she said. “It was at the same time, the exact same time.”   

His other sister, SE student Vianca Perez, explained that Carlos was incredibly responsible.  

“His parents just raised him right,” she said. “He just did everything right. When you talk to him, you never got a vibe of him being a bad person.”  

Vianca said she recalls how much he loved dancing, and though they had different interests she always wanted to learn to dance. she remembers how he helped her learn once During New Year’s Eve of 2022. 

“He was like, ‘Vianca, you’re doing it, you’re doing so good!’ And I was so proud because I could do it,” she said. “It made me feel closer to him when he would teach me how to dance.”  

Since losing Carlos, Vianca explained that it feels wrong to do certain things without him. Most of all, she is frustrated that no one has come forward to admit who the suspect was the night Carlos was shot.  

She said that though the group that witnessed the incident was interviewed, none of them admitted to who did it.  

“My issue is that this is a fixable thing,” she said. “You can tell us who the person is, they can be held responsible for what they’ve done, and we can just go forward with the grieving process. But instead, you’re choosing to not say anything and it’s infuriating because you’re making a choice right now to hurt us more.” 

Kathi said she is still grappling with the loss of her brother.   

“To be honest, I feel like everyone tells you it gets easier as time goes, but I feel like it doesn’t get easier. You just learn to live with it,” she said. “It’s kind of like a survival thing after that.” 

She has gone over in her head the things she felt could have gone differently for her and her brother. Their relationship was complex, and she wishes they had been able to spend more time together.  

She addressed these regrets in the final line of her speech at Carlos’ funeral.  

“Friends and family of Carlitos, I ask that you put aside any issues that are keeping your family apart,” she said. “One day, they can be taken from you in the blink of an eye, and without reason. If you cannot do it for me, then do it for him.” 

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