On Sunday, May 29, at least 50 friends and family members of 18-year-old Juan Carlos Muñoz Jr. gathered at Highland Avenue and 30th Street in National City to press for justice for the teen, who was murdered as he sat in his car with a friend at around 8 p.m. last October 11.
Calling out “Justice for Junior,” they'd marched to the big intersection from the site of the murder, the 1600 block of Prospect Street. At the northwest corner of Highland Avenue and 30th, half the crowd crossed the street and both groups stood on the two street corners handing out leaflets and waving signs at passersby.
According to his friends and relatives, Muñoz had gone to Prospect Street to buy supplies for a friend's birthday party. The friend was in the car with him. They were parked at the curb when a late-2000s dark-colored silver or gray Nissan Altima pulled up behind Muñoz.
A passenger exited, walked over to Muñoz, and asked through the open driver’s side window where he and his friend (a minor) were from. He also asked Muñoz if he belonged to a gang. Then the suspect is said to have shown a gun, fired five shots, and fled east on E. 16th Street. Muñoz's companion was struck in the left thigh. He survived. Muñoz took four bullets in the left shoulder and died on the way to the hospital.
Marchers on Sunday said Muñoz, popularly known as Junior, was not a gang member. His chief affiliation, they said, was as outfielder and first baseman for a ball club in a South Bay league.
One demonstrator, who identified himself as an uncle of the boy, said no one has come up with a motive for the killing. Did he have any enemies? No, none that family and friends were aware of. Were Muñoz and the suspect strangers? Hard to tell, a marcher said with a shrug.
No one saw the face because the shooter wore a mask. Witnesses had described the suspect as a husky, light-skinned, Hispanic male in his 20s with a shaved head.
“There are so many unanswered questions that it's hard to tell what actually happened,” the uncle said.
The May 29 gathering was the third time since mid-November that Muñoz friends and family have demanded justice at the scene of the crime. People in the crowd said the marches and demonstrations will not cease until the killer is caught. Justice, said one woman, is defined as catching the killer.