Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Alejandro Carillo killed during combat operations

A 22-year-old Marine sergeant from Carson who often came back to his high school alma mater to encourage students to stay in school has been killed in combat in Iraq.

Marine Sgt. Alejandro Carrillo, a Carson High School graduate, died January 30 while conducting combat operations in Anbar.

Carrillo was a promising leader who visited Carson High regularly after finishing boot camp to discourage kids from temptations of the streets, said his ROTC instructor, Master Sgt. Phillip Zamora.

"He would come back to the school and talk to the kids, and tell them, 'Hey, you need to get a good education. There's more to life than the streets and the drugs and gang banging," said Zamora, who said he became a close mentor to the teenager over his four years in the program.

When Carrillo told him he was joining the Marine Corps, Zamora sat down with the teen for a heart-to-heart.

"I told him, 'Hey, you know what's going on over there." He said, "I'm very well aware of that. But I'd rather die serving my country than die of the streets for no cause, for no reason," Zamora said.

Carrillo was killed exactly two years to the day after his brother, Marvin Vasquez, was killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy following a vehicle pursuit.

A vigil service will be held 7 p.m. Friday at the Green Hills Mortuary chapel, Rancho Palos Verdes. Viewing will begin at 6 p.m. Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Wilmington.

From the Daily Breeze