Man fatally shot outside Mount Pleasant salon remembered for kind heart, community service
Family, friends, neighbors and church members were all in attendance at a vigil Wednesday night, Sept. 1, saying Andre Sandoval's heart was too big for this world.
The loss, they say, is a big one for the entire community.
Andre Sandoval stood up against gun violence in a public service campaign. Six years later, a gun took his life.
"It hurts," said Lupe Sandoval, Andre's father.
A grieving father tells a loving community outside the salon where he was shot he already forgives his son's killer.
To honor Andre, Lupe Sandoval asked others to forgive those who've hurt them.
Tears flowed and mourners offered hugs, remembering a young man they say wanted to give his mom all granddaughters.
"I am going to miss him dearly," said Maria Sandoval, Andre's mother.
Sandoval was well-known in the St. Patrick's community.
"Everybody that knew Andre, loved Andre," said one young man at the vigil.
He started in the ACTS youth program in eighth grade, and later served as a mentor. That stands for the Active Catholic Teens in Service youth ministry. It's a ministry that serves three Catholic churches -- St. Patrick, St. Edward and St. Richard.
"And we miss him and we will always miss him. Rest in power, Andre," said one friend at the vigil.
Red memorial shirts now bear his name.
"When the news came out, I was getting texts from all the kids in our ministry and we were all hurt about the news," said Dulce Contreras, friend and ACTS member.
In a video taken by the ministry, we hear from Andre himself.
"Being kind to people, I think that's one of the biggest things that I try my best doing, because I mean it's good to help people. It's a great feeling for yourself to just really go out there."
One photo shared was taken in the Dominican Republic where Sandoval served on a mission trip. This summer he was part of a team helping to rebuild a deck for a Racine family in need.
"Working with the parents, you know, they've lost their son, and for me it's like losing a spiritual son," said Contreras.
Andre was born on Jan. 6. We're told he made the news right from the start, being the first baby of the New Year at Burlington's Hospital.
Family says it's fitting that the life he lived serving others would now also be making the news.