Cupertino shooting victim's aunt talks to ABC7

Manuel Pinon, left, worked at the Lehigh Cement Plant for 15 years.
October 10, 2011 6:06:37 PM PDT
The family of one of the murdered Cupertino shooting victims invited ABC7 into their home Monday to talk about their loss.

Manuel Pinon, 48, was the oldest of four brothers who grew up in San Jose. He leaves behind his wife Melina, four children in their 20s, his parents and grandparents.

Pinon was a heavy equipment operator at the Lehigh Cement Plant where he was killed.

Melina never worked outside the home during their 27 year marriage. She now faces possible foreclosure and a cancer diagnosis without him.

"She has an inoperable tumor that has to be shrunk," Manuel's aunt Luz Brown said. "How will she make ends meet?"

Brown says Manuel had worked for 15 years at the Lehigh Cement Plant. The company is covering funeral costs but she's not sure about anything else.

Brown is a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy, and would eventually like to ask what Lehigh knew in advance about the shooter, Lehigh employee Shareef Allman.

"If this gentleman was problematic and it was ongoing issue, at what point was it going to be addressed? Obviously we'll never know now. It took three deaths to realize this man had issues," Brown said.

For now Brown is focusing on the funeral, planned for Wednesday, where Manuel will be remembered as a man who appreciated what he had, who worked hard during the week and cherished his weekends.

"A faithful 49er until the end, the 49ers and Carlos Santana -- what he lived for on the weekends, great guy," Brown said.

The non-profit Mothers Against Murder is helping Manuel's family get through the devastating time and has set up a memorial fund.

"There is just so much hurt, a life was taken, but that life that was a part of so many other lives," Executive Director Margaret Petros said.

Company officials at the Lehigh Cement Plant say their workers returned Monday to begin bringing the plant's operations back online.

Donations to help Melina Pinon are most appreciated and may be payable to Manual Pinon's Memorial Fund at Bank of the West, Account # 025648840. Donations may be given in person at any Bank of the West branch or mailed to the Newman branch of Bank of the West located at 945 Fresno St., Newman, CA 95360.

Local 287 has set up a trust fund for the Cupertino quarry victims and their families at United Labor Bank (2550 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95131-1038) under the name Teamsters Local 287/Lehigh Hanson Victims Fund.

Anyone wanting to donate can send donations to any United Labor Bank or to Teamsters Local 287, 1452 N. Fourth Street, San Jose, CA 95112.


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