St. Francis grad slain in LB shooting

April 23, 2009|By Seth Amitin, Gabriel Rizk and Christopher Cadelago

Hugo Bustamante, a 46-year-old St. Francis grad and former soccer coach, was shot and fatally wounded last week in a Long Beach pharmacy shooting.

Bustamante, of Cypress, was found in the pharmacy area of the hospital, according to the Long Beach Police Department. He died after being transported to a hospital for treatment. The second victim, Kelly Hales, of Redondo Beach, was found outside the hospital with a gunshot wound and also subsequently died of his injuries.

At mid-day last Thursday, Long Beach police responded to shots fired at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. They found the suspect, 50-year-old Mario Ramirez, a medical technician from Alhambra, lying in the street on the north side of the hospital. Ramirez died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.


Bustamante was the pharmacy manager, and Hales was executive director of the hospital’s outpatient pharmacy, hospital spokeswoman Stacie Crompton-Hime said. Police declined to speculate about a motive for the shooting.

Bustamante, who is survived by his wife Jane, 42; daughter Ashley, 10; and son Dominic, 4, as well as his parents and extended family who live in the San Gabriel Valley, was known in Cypress as a dedicated family man who volunteered in youth sports in the community despite a heavy workload.

Bustamante’s commitment to helping with youth sports went beyond coaching his own children, said Keester’s wife, Ari, who recalled an instance when Bustamante took time out of his Saturday to fill in as a referee for her daughter’s youth soccer game.

“It’s hard to explain to your children what a tragedy it is, that their friends aren’t going to have their dad any more,” said Ari Keester, whose family was often guests of Bustamante at the Charo Chicken restaurant that he co-owned. “I know everybody [in the community] is just devastated. It’s so sad to think of the loss this family has and what a family man that he was, and that these kids aren’t going to have their dad in their life, who adored them.”

Services for Bustamante are planned for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Irenaeus Church, Cypress.

Bustamante is remembered fondly by St. Francis and members of the Golden Knights family, including current soccer Coach Glen Appels. “I don’t know if I would have survived without Hugo when I first started coaching at St. Francis, but I know that he loved St. Francis and soccer, and he wanted to help keep the program going,” said Appels, whose coaching staff included Bustamante as an assistant from 1990-93. “We became good friends. He would come back and watch games, and the kids all loved him.”

A memorial at St. Francis is being planned with the family, though no date has been set.

“We’ve received calls from classmates from all over saying they remember him,” said alumni director Tim Murphy.

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