Family, friends mourn lightning strike victims

July 17, 2012 2:58:07 AM PDT
One minute they were playing a friendly game, and in a fraction of a second, their lives were taken by a lightning bolt.

It was a horrific scene that we first reported as breaking news Sunday. Now we're learning more about the victims and hearing from family members.

Family and friends still can't believe the two friends and teammates were killed feet from the soccer field. On Monday, it was a spot for reflection.

Candles burn and heads are bowed in prayer under the tree where two friends were killed by a lightning strike Sunday.

"It's like a nightmare. We still don't think that it's true," relative Ana Rivera said.

A soccer game was underway at the La Escondida Soccer Club off the Hardy Toll Road. A heavy downpour stopped the games and at least two buddies on the same team took cover.

"They were great, they were like, toddlers. They were always playing around. One was biting the other's ear. One was poking the ribs," Rivera said.

Jose Romero, 26, and Angel Delgado, 27, opted to take shelter beneath a pine tree instead of the pavilion. Then lightning hit. One was killed, and the other pronounced dead at the hospital. A third player is listed as stable. The team was tight, with all the players from the same state of Guerrero in Mexico.

"They all grew up together, they all came to the United States together, they all worked together," Rivera said.

Family and friends created a memorial around the tree in honor of Romero, Delgado and the third injured player.

"I just don't like looking at it. It makes me want to cry," one memorial visitor said.

Now the family is preparing to hold a funeral and then fly their bodies to their homeland, with a piece of the bark broken loose from the tree they used for protection.

"We are very Catholic. So we always believe we keep a part of whatever caused their death. So I'm taking it with me, so when their bodies go back to Mexico. It's going with them. So they can bury it with them in their hometown," Rivera said.

The family is planning funeral arrangements at the Santana Funeral Home. After the funeral, both men will be flown back their home state of Guerrero for burial, with those pieces of bark.

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