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Natanael Perez

Age 17

Santa Ana, California

He wanted better for his kids

He met his fiancée, Wendy Paniagua, when she was a single mom caring for a 10-month-old son. They would go on to have two more kids in their two short years together.

He grew up in a tough neighborhood, which gave him motivation to work hard. He had plans for a big, joyous life, with a large house and family all around. “He wanted more,” Paniagua told The Trace. “That’s what made me fall in love with him.”

On February 10, 2019, Natanael E. Perez, 17, was shot and killed in Santa Ana, California, as he attempted to rob a store, police say. Two others with him were wounded.

By Sarah Emily Baum · Age 18
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