SOUTH BEND -- One day earlier this month, Dustin Garcia waited for the man he called uncle to come to his house as promised and set off the fireworks he brought the boy.
"He brought me fireworks," Dustin, 6, said quietly, standing near a large portrait of Cesar Flores, a 32-year-old man who was shot to death on Sept. 9.
The morning before he was killed, Flores told Dustin he would come back to set them off, the boy's mother, Bonnie Gaytan said.
Friends and family gathered Thursday evening to pray for Flores, who was killed at the Anchor Inn at 2224 W. Western Ave. About 50 people huddled together around the man's portrait, many teary-eyed.
For Dustin, Flores was his uncle, though they had no blood relation.
Flores brought the boy fireworks the day before he died, but the morning visit was nothing unusual.
The South Bend man stopped at Dustin's house every day because his father was incarcerated. Flores and Dustin's father were best friends, Gaytan said.
He checked on Dustin and his five siblings, brought food and gave his older sister, who just started high school, lunch money, Gaytan said.
"I have six kids. They all took it hard," she said.
Dustin's older brother stood nearby, wearing rosary beads that belonged to Flores.
A lifelong resident of a neighborhood off Western Avenue, Flores worked construction and attended school at nearby St. Adalbert's.
Community members participated in an On Site Prayer Vigil, across the street from the Anchor Inn.
The group holds vigils for all homicide victims in South Bend and Mishawaka, though after the group-led vigil finished, Flores' family and friends stayed.
They closely surrounded Flores' portrait, which read "Que descanses en Paz" or "May you rest in peace."
They prayed the Hail Mary in Spanish, some holding prayer candles depicting the Virgin Mary.
Flores' mother, two sisters and at least several of his five children attended the vigil, friends said.
Jackie Garcia, whose son grew up with Flores, said the man had a giving spirit.
"Everybody is hurting," she said.
Garcia said Flores loved traveling to Mexico and enjoyed Mexican music.
That is what brought him to the Anchor Inn that night, she said. A disc jockey was slotted to play Mexican music at the neighborhood bar.
Flores got into a fight with the disc jockey at the bar, court documents said. When the two men went outside to fight, the disc jockey's brother shot Flores, the documents alleged.
Ramon DeLeon, 24, is charged with voluntary manslaughter. Flores' cousin, James D. Garcia Jr., 30, was also charged in the incident for criminal recklessness for firing back at the group surrounding DeLeon.
"This needs to stop," Jackie Garcia said. "It is senseless."
Staff writer Madeline Buckley: