MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - His passion was keeping people safe. In the end, it cost him his life.
Gabriel Mendoza-Cordova was shot and killed over the weekend while providing security at an Uptown bar.
Loved ones who knew him as "Dino" gathered to remember him in West St. Paul on Wednesday. His family is seeking justice, demanding to know what happened. His murder is also pushing them to do something more, motivating them to try to ignite a movement to end the deadly gun violence ripping apart families.
"He's always just kind of been a protector and that's just kind of who he was," said Mendoza-Cordova's sister.
Given the circumstances surrounding her brother’s slaying, Gabe Mendoza-Cordova’s sister asked us to shield her name and identity. But her message was loud and clear.
"This is not the first time that we've been involved with the fight for gun violence, but it's the first time it's been so impactful for us because it's completely different when it happens to you directly," she said. "You wake up in a different way, I think, and realize that this is now our day-to-day life."
Gabe’s family tells us the 23 year old was shot and killed working a security detail at Fire House Uptown on the 1300 block of Lagoon Avenue Sunday night. They don’t have all the details but understand there was a shooting outside the bar, he was trying to protect others, when he was fatally struck in the neck.
Police found him lying inside the back of the establishment.
"We knew he was very well trained," his sister says. "He always wore a vest. Unfortunately, in this situation, you know, it was a place that the vest could not protect."
Gabe grew up in a large Saint Paul family, wanting to own his own private security firm. He was a twin, and his mom’s only son. His loved ones vow that he will be remembered for far more than the latest homicide statistic in Minneapolis.
They launched a Twitter handle, Stop the Violence @71in2022, a nod to the number of murders in the state’s largest city so far this year.
"Gabe is not the first or the last person that's going to die at the hands of gun violence in Minneapolis," his sister acknowledged. "Something needs to be done."
The family is so grateful for the outpouring of support. A GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses has topped $19,000 as of Wednesday evening. At last check, police had made no arrests in his killing.