"I heard the gunshots, I thought they were firecrackers," Hector Gil, Jr. said Thursday remembering the moment when he saw his father gunned down right in front of him.
The gunshots came from an open door at the front entrance of Pacific Coast Boxing Inc. on North Sante Fe Avenue in Vista. "I see everyone laying on the floor and then turn my head to the door and that's when I saw the gun," Gil, Jr. said.
On the floor lay three men including 52-year old Hector Gil, Sr.
According to witnesses, as the gunman opened fire, Gil, Sr. jumped in front of the barrage of bullets to protect others including children. He was killed in the shooting Wednesday night. Two other men were wounded but survived.
Gil, Sr. volunteered working with North County kids at the gym dedicated to keeping young people off the streets and away from violence. He also was involved in training professional fighters.
Gil, Jr. said Diaz was angry that some of his boxers left him to train with Gil, Sr. "He started threatening my dad that he was going to punch him, that he was going to kill him," the victim's son said.
The threats prompted the gym's owner to file a restraining order against Diaz.
On Thursday afternoon, law enforcement officers caught up with Diaz on Carlsbad Boulevard where he was taken into custody. He is now at Vista Detention Center awaiting arraignment on several charges including murder.
"I hope he gets life in prison," Gil, Jr. said.
He says his father was an important part of the community because he took kids off the street and taught them to box, so they wouldn't join gangs.
"I've always been proud of my dad because he's a good person," Gil, Jr. said tearfully. "It's my point of view but he's the best dad in the world."
Parents and neighbors stopped by the gym throughout the day Thursday to leave flowers and pay their respects.
"They don't do nothing, just good stuff here. And to see something like this happen here , it's too sad. It's too sad," said Anna Simental, a Vista resident and mother of one of the gym's clients.
On Saturday, a fundraiser is planned for 2 p.m. at Pacific Coast Boxing gym to help with funeral expenses.