It was back on April 14, 2014 when Jennifer Candelario first spoke to NBC10 about the death of her younger brother Jonathan.
“He didn’t deserve to die like this,” she said. “He has a lot of family here that love him. I won’t give up until justice is served for my baby brother.”
One year later Jennifer has held true to her word.
“We just want justice,” she told NBC10 Tuesday. “We deserve it.”
Around 50 people gathered on the 800 block of Montrose Street in Vineland Tuesday evening for a vigil in Jonathan’s memory. It was the same spot where he was killed a year ago.
The 21-year-old was at a friend’s house on Montrose back on April 13, 2014 when a gunman suddenly opened fire. Jonathan was struck in the abdomen. He was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries the next day.
Neighbors and family members said Jonathan was an innocent bystander who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
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“He had just gotten there maybe five minutes before this person walked up to the porch and opened fire,” Jennifer said.
His death was part of a violent night in Vineland in which a home invasion and two fatal shootings all occurred within a few hours of each other.
A month later a Vineland man named Aleshio Jones was arrested in connection to the shooting and charged with conspiracy to commit murder and hindering, according to the Daily Journal. Yet Jonathan’s family doesn’t believe Jones was the one who actually pulled the trigger. No one else has been arrested in connection to Jonathan’s death.
“At this point the detectives have no leads and it’s basically up to this individual and his attorney to speak or take the full wrap himself,” Jennifer said. “For him to go down for the whole thing with the actual murderer still in the street is not justice.”
Jonathan was part of a big family, which includes his parents, two sisters, four nieces, a nephew, two maternal grandparents, two paternal grandparents, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Jennifer described the difficulty her family has faced since Jonathan’s death.
“My mom and dad are struggling,” she said. “About two months ago my mother received a letter from a college that had accepted him. She was so upset she tore it up.”
For Jennifer, her baby brother was like a son to her.
“I was 10 years-old when he was born,” she said. “I practiced being a mommy to him. He was my baby.”
Jennifer described her brother as a good kid, and a “somebody.”
“My brother was excellent in sports,” she said. “He played everything from football to basketball to baseball. He loved music. He loved camping and he had a billion dollar smile.”
During the vigil, Jonathan’s family announced that a $2500 reward for information leading to an arrest had been increased to $5000. They’re hoping it will lead to new developments in the case so that the person who killed Jonathan will finally be brought to justice.
“I don’t care if he’s sentenced for five years or 20 years,” Jennifer said. “I just want him to pay for what he did. He took a life that was precious to us.”
If you have any information on Jonathan’s death, please call the Vineland Crime Stoppers at 856-691-0345, Vineland Police Department at 856-691-4111 or the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office at 856-453-0486.