HAYS COUNTY, Texas - The last 24 hours have been a nightmare for the family of 20-year-old Joe Perez.
“The police department from Tennessee, I guess they got confirmation through his I.D. and phone that he was deceased. They called and delivered the message,” said Michael Sauceda, uncle of Joe Perez.
“He was a fun loving kid. You know just very outgoing, everybody loved him,” said Sauceda.
Perez grew up in Buda. He attended Lehman and Hays high schools. His uncle says in an attempt to get away from some bad influences on his life, he packed up and moved.
“He moved to Nashville and got his life together, had a career. He was happy with where he was before he died. That's all we could ask,” said Sauceda.
Perez came to the restaurant to meet a friend. They were both murdered while outside by alleged gunman Travis Reinking. Sauceda says this all could have been prevented. The Tazewell county sheriff's office says Reinking got a hold of weapons taken from him and given to his dad.
“I don't feel this kid should’ve had the guns in his hands. The government took the steps to get them out, and put them right back in his hands,” said Sauceda.
Perez's family hopes Joe's untimely death can be a catalyst for reform.
“Weapons of mass destruction need to be off the street. An AR-15 is definitely a weapon of mass destruction,” said Sauceda.
Perez’s family is hoping to put together a march on May 5. James Shaw Jr., the main being hailed a hero after grabbing the firearm from the alleged shooter, has started a GoFundMe page for the victims’ families. Visit the page here: https://www.gofundme.com.