Friends set up GoFundMe for daughter of man killed in Hempstead on Christmas
As police continue their search for a gunman who killed another man on Christmas in Hempstead, the victim's friends and family are left mourning.
"He was perfect," says Imani Mazyck, whose boyfriend of seven years, Rafael Cepeda, was gunned down near the intersection of Terrace Avenue and Bedell Street at 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Day. "It's so sad that we don't realize it when it's right in front of us. We realize it when it's gone."
Friends say Cepeda was more intimately known as Ralphy, a doting father to his 11-year-old daughter, Carmen.
"You never see a single dad taking care of, not just a boy but a girl, raising a girl on his own, nobody's helping him, none of that," Mazyck says.
She says she believes he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught up in the crossfire of gang violence in the notoriously dangerous area.
And while Mazyck and Cepeda's other friends say there is no comfort knowing the shooter is still on the loose, their concern is more about taking care of the girl he left behind.
"We can't do anything about that, and it's sad that we can't bring him back, but now it's about Carmen," says Genevra Dommermuth, another friend.
So the friends have set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for Cepeda's funeral services and to help take care of his daughter.