LOMPOC, Calif. - The death of a soldier on leave from Germany, gunned down in Lompoc last weekend as he walked down the street, has struck a chord with the entire community.
A Lompoc restaurant donated half of Monday’s dinner hour sales, plus tips and donations, to help Marlon Brumfield’s family during this difficult time.
With a consistent line out the door, the community came together with heavy hearts.
“I would have loved to have met him, just to say thank you for your service,” said a Lompoc resident named Laverna.
Even those who didn’t know Marlon Brumfield feel a connection to his life and legacy.
“It seems like everyone I talk to lately, he comes up. He’s in our mind and why?” said Laverna.
Mi Amore Pizza and Pasta Owner, Stacy Smith, turned the ‘why’ into a chance for Lompoc to show Brumfield’s family and friends that they care.
“It’s something that we felt compelled to do,” said Smith.
Brumfield’s sister Kayla worked at Mi Amore for years and is friends with Smith’s daughter, so Smith says she’s like family.
“Lompoc is going through some tough times but we are a great community and we always will be and this restaurant always wants to be there to support in any way we can,” said Smith.
Slice by slice, Brumfield’s sister Janicia Small and his significant other, Sabrina Dickinson are feeling the love.
“That touches my heart very deeply that strangers could care so much…” said Small.
“For someone that they didn’t even know,” said Dickinson, finishing Small’s sentence.
Small says the community’s support everywhere they go, is what’s keeping them together.
“When we visit his site, we see a new face every day. [They ask me] Do you know him? I say he was my brother. We never met, this person, they’re crying over my brother, I’m so sorry for your loss. I didn’t expect that at all,” said Small.
With every flag and flower placed at Brumfield’s memorial, an organized march and Monday’s fundraiser, Small and Dickinson say the community’s determination to put these things into motion, hopefully, signifies that a change is coming.
“He was the best person there ever was,” said Dickinson.
“He was a really good man with a really pure heart and he deserves everything this community is doing for him because he would’ve done it for anyone else,” said Small.
As of 9:30 p.m. Monday, Smith says Mi Amore brought in over $2,000 in tips and donations and Smith thinks their 50% portion will be close to $4,000 dollars.
The Lompoc Police Department says the Brumfield case is their highest priority case and they have been working the Brumfield case and only the Brumfield case since the shooting eight days ago.
A march, organized by faith leaders and community members is planned for Friday, September 20th, at 7 p.m. starting at Starbuck Lind Mortuary and ending at Lompoc City Hall. Starbuck Lind Mortuary is directly across the street from the memorial on Ocean Avenue and A Street.