Loved ones of Jessica Chavez gathered in Antelope to keep her memory alive a year after her death.
"She was a teacher in the cosmetic industry. She touched a lot of people's lives through that, touched my life, she touched a lot of her friend's lives. She was always there for all of us, so this is the least we could do for her," Andrew Sammut said.
Sammut was just reuniting with Chavez, the love of his life, was shot to death by a man she briefly dated. It happened outside the Antelope home she lived in part-time when she wasn't spending time with Sammut in Martinez.
Gildardo Ramos shot himself to death two days after killing Chavez.
"Every night before this all happened, like before I went to my interview and my psyche, I'd get like a weird... I'd find her earring. I'd find this,I'd find that, little reminders," Sammut said.
Those are some of the signs Sammut believes Jessica sent him over the last year as he interviewed and secured the dream firefighting job they had always talked about.
Chavez had confessed her fears about Ramos to Sammut, and their toxic relationship had just sent Ramos to jail when she was killed. She didn't know he'd been released.
"You always have that guilt in the back of your mind like, 'Hey, is there something I could have done?'" Sammut said.
He wants everyone to have a better mindset about domestic violence.
"Act on it," he said. "Act on it and don't take, 'Hey, everything's gonna be OK.'"
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, WEAVE has a 24-hour hotline available at 916-920-2952.