Chatsworth, CA — The family of Joseph Ileto, the Filipino American mail carrier gunned down during a shooting spree carried out by a white supremacist in 1999, joined elected officials as they planted a tree in his honor at the Chatsworth Post Office in Southern California, where he worked at.
“It’s been tough for our family marking the 20th anniversary at the same time, we’re glad people remember, post officer co-workers are here, and it’s really terrible that we have to get together this way,” said Ish Ileto.
“Even all those families that’s affected from Granada shooting, the Granada community school. They all remember me and I remember them, we are together,” said Lilian Ileto, his mother.
Ileto was out delivering mail on the morning of August 10th, 1999, when self-proclaimed white supremacist Bufford Furrow went on a shooting spree that began at the North Valley Jewish Center.
After he injured 5 people there, he saw Ileto whom he asked if he was Mexican or Asian, and then he opened fire.
Furrow, is now serving two consecutive life sentences.
While the Ileto family was forever changed with Joseph’s brutal and senseless murder, the families of the other victims said while they’ve lived on to have productive lives, the effects of a mass shooting can carry on throughout adulthood.
“She’s suffering to this day from the emotional trauma which is PTSD and has been hospitalized but we’ve lived this nightmare and we don’t want any other parent to have the same experiences. It was a horrible day and its just life-changing,” said Donna Finkelstein.
Fresh from a series of shootings in recent weeks, Elected officials here also vowed to fight for the same laws that the North Valley victims have been fighting for — including universal background checks and limits on high capacity rifles.
“Nothing we do is guaranteed to stop every killing But doing nothing is guaranteed to cause them to continue with greater and greater frequencies. Doing nothing is not an option.”
“I’m tired of damn thoughts and prayers that are always given to victims, I’m tired of all sympathies and condolences. Do something lets do something to change the laws that’ll better the lives of everyone here.”
Despite calls for Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to hold an emergency session immediately, McConnell says that the Senate’s discussions on Gun control will resume when lawmakers return from recess next month.
20 years since the North Valley shooting, and the gun violence continues.
While the community, especially the Ileto family would welcome gun stricter gun laws, they believe the ultimate solution is to stop hate.