Family of a slain teen strongly denies he was a gang member

Published: Jul. 22, 2018 at 9:30 PM AKDT
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Family members of a teenager shot and killed Friday evening in Mountain View remember their son as "respectful kid" and strongly deny that he was a member of a gang.

Siou Khotesouvan, the mother of 15-year-old Raynaldo, says her son was traveling to a gas station to buy a fountain drink with one of his brothers when they came across another group of boys.

Khotesouvan describes that there was some sort of verbal disagreement between the boys which mirrors the account of Michael Marquez, 19, who witnessed the event and was subsequently charged with tampering with evidence.

Court papers show the disagreement escalated until 16-year-old Luimariamofoa Polu allegedly shot Khotesouvan, killing him on Bliss Street.

Police arrested Polu earlier Saturday morning, charging him as an adult with first-degree murder after he allegedly confessed to the shooting. Polu told police that he was a member of the "Bloods" and that he believed Khotesouvan was a "Crip."

"He wasn't a gang member, everyone who knows him loves him," said Siou Khotesouvan, crying, next to her husband Souchoy Saephanh and some of her 13 children. Family remembers the 15-year-old Freshman from East High School as a lover of basketball, fishing, and the kind of brother and son who would help take care of his siblings.

Khotesouvan said her son who survived the encounter has been traumatized. "Every time closes his eyes, he sees what happened."

A Buddhist shrine sat next to the family that has roots in Laos; Khotesouvan explained that a candle is left burning to guide her son as he crosses over and food is left as an offering to keep him from going hungry.

Family have reached out to the community for

, saying "our family was not financially prepared for the unexpected death of our son."