A local church honored the memory of the victims of a recent string of homeless killings with a memorial service Sunday.
Angelo De Nardo, the first victim of the attacks last month, attended the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of San Diego in Clairemont for years.
"We welcomed him into our midst and we celebrate diversity and we recognized him as a child of God and we’re grateful that this was a place that he could find refuge and solace," Rev. Dan Koeshall of the MCC San Diego, said.
De Nardo’s badly burned body was found by Police in Bay Ho on July third. Two of the other victims were found dead the same week.
De Nardo, 53, had family in Pennsylvania, police said.
Although the memorial was sparsely attended, church officials said it’s not the amount of people that matters.
"We wanted to say their names and to honor them, and we're grateful for that energy that can go out from here, mighty in love, maybe small in numbers but mighty in love,” Koeshall said.
Koeshall said he was shocked when he heard homeless men were being targeted in San Diego, and it “pierced his heart” when he found out De Nardo was one of the victims.
“What was unique about Angelo is that when he would come to receive a sack lunch he insisted on always giving a dollar,” Koeshall remembered. “He would never just take it. He says ‘I want to give something in return,’ and that touched our hearts.”
“Coming out here and showing our respect for his life and honoring the life of, not only Angelo, but the other men who were killed, was also a call to action. We need to do more for homeless people in San Diego,” retired assembly member Lori Saldana told NBC 7.
Jon Guerrero of San Diego was arrested on July 15 and is charged with three counts of first degree murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted.