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Criminal Justice

Mass Held For Pasadena 13-Year-Old Killed By Stray Bullet In His Home

Iran is spelled out in capital letters with white flowers on a wooden easel in a hallway of St. Andrew Church in Pasadena.
A floral tribute to Iran Balvaneda at the mass at St. Andrew Church.
(Emily Elena Dugdale
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People gathered Monday night at St. Andrew Church in Old Town Pasadena for a mass for 13-year-old Iran Moreno Balvaneda, who was shot and killed by a stray bullet last month while playing video games in his bedroom.

Pallbearers wearing white gloves and blue hoodies carried a white casket bearing Balvaneda’s body past mourners standing in the church pews.

“It’s difficult to believe that this is reality,” Father Marcos Gonzalez told the gathering in Spanish. He lit incense as people prayed and church staff opened the casket for viewing.

One of those attending was Dolores De La Torre-Beltran, who works as a site coordinator for an after-school program at a local elementary school and knows Balvaneda’s sister.

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“He was in his house where he was safe,” said De La Torre-Beltran, who brought a flower rosary as an offering. “It hurts. It hurts.”

A view of the interior of St. Andrew Church -- filled with multicolored columns and colorful murals -- from a back pew.
St. Andrew Church before the mass for Iran Balvaneda.
(Emily Elena Dugdale

Balvaneda’s cousin Maria Balvaneda said his parents “feel some kind of comfort that they’re finally putting my cousin to rest, but they’re still devastated about the loss.”

The incident was the latest of several shootings in northwest Pasadena.

“I worry every day,” De La Torre-Beltran said, “so now, I tell my students, ‘Be safe,’ and I thank them every day I see them for being there.”

Balvaneda’s killer is still at large.

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