Violent end to immigrant's life has family in Guatemala shaken He had called home 3 days before Baltimore slaying

September 28, 1995|By Fiona Neill | Fiona Neill,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GUATEMALA CITY -- A Guatemalan cook slain in Baltimore last week was buried in a Guatemala City cemetery yesterday as grieving relatives recalled a loving family man who phoned his sick mother once a week and sent money home to his family.

Immigrant worker Arcadio Guerra, 46, was fatally shot in the face ddTC Sept. 19 in Patterson Park as he walked home at night from Capricio's restaurant in Little Italy, where he had worked his way up from dishwasher to cook.

Mr. Guerra's elderly parents, his three siblings, and a dozen cousins, nieces and nephews attended the funeral in a quiet cemetery lined with cypress and eucalyptus trees. Many had spent hours traveling by bus from remote provinces to be there.

All were shocked by the violent nature of his death. They $H described Mr. Guerra as a calm and honorable man who belonged to the evangelical church.

"He had no vices. He went to the United States to earn money to help his family, and all he found was death," said his brother-in-law, Rodolfo Sierra.

Mr. Guerra spoke with his family three days before his fatal walk through Patterson Park and had promised his mother that he would return to Guatemala for good before Christmas.

According to family members, he had a particularly close relationship with his frail 86-year-old mother, Margarita Guerra, who attended the funeral in a wheelchair. "She kept saying she would die without seeing her son again," said his nephew, Edin Sierra.

He said the family had begged his uncle to come home for several years.

But Mr. Guerra said the United States was his only chance to save enough money to help his family escape the grim poverty of Guatemala. His parents grew coffee and cardamom in the remote and mountainous province of Alta Verapaz in central Guatemala.

Mr. Guerra was the youngest of four children. He was the only member of his family to have immigrated to the United States. He had lived in Baltimore since 1989.

His family said their one hope was that justice would prevail and that his killer would be found and convicted.

Baltimore police are continuing their investigation. They had made no arrests and knew of no motive for the slaying.

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