Shani Moffett stood a block away lighting candles from where a man was fatally shot at the intersection of Plymouth Road and Kelley Drive in Stockton more than a week ago.
The San Joaquin County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man killed as 44-year-old Michael Mello Sr., an unhoused resident.
Although unhoused, Mello was no stranger to the neighborhood where he was gunned down.
Moffett said Mello — also referred to as “Mike” — lived in a Honda CR-V for years that had been parked in the area. She described Mello as a nice guy who was very loved.
“Nobody had a problem with Mike being here,” Moffett said. “We all came together for the love of him.”
Mello’s death has been a shock to those who knew him.
Moffett’s boyfriend Tre Thomas said he heard several gunshots before knowing what had occurred.
Mello and an unidentified woman were both shot, police said. Mello died at the scene and the woman was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.
Thomas said that grey paint was placed over the blood stains where Mello’s body was found to mask the red reminder.
On Tuesday there were balloons placed on a neighbor’s fence at the intersection along with four candles and two posters.
But Moffett and Thomas decided to create a bigger memorial Monday where Mello’s ever-present vehicle is parked.
On the center of the car hood was a whiteboard that held messages for Mello, a photo of he and his mother, some flowers and candles, and posters in the spots where window glass was missing.
Additionally, on the sidewalk there were various candles arranged in a rectangle and inside several smaller candles were placed with the letters “LLM” which stands for Long Live Mike, according to Moffett.
A bright lime green poster stood out with Mello’s face near other posters that read “RIP Mike” accompanied by star balloons and white balloons.
As the couple glanced at the photos remembering their neighbor, they also recalled how they would bring him groceries, how Mello never asked for money and how at times he’d cut people’s grass without them asking.
“He wasn’t blood, but he was family,” said Thomas.
Stockton Police had not yet identified a suspect or motive in the shootings.