Silvia Patricia Tun Cun and Francisco Gutierrez came to San Francisco in search of opportunities, and both ended up finding the work needed to support their families back home in Central America.
But now, after their untimely deaths, their families need support from The City to send them home.
Tun Cun, 29, and Gutierrez, 26, were the innocent bystanders fatally struck by an alleged gang member who was reportedly fleeing from police in the Mission district after a shooting New Year’s Day. Tun Cun was riding in the Toyota that David Morales, 19, collided with at 21st Street and South Van Ness Avenue. The impact sent the Toyota careening onto the sidewalk, where it struck and killed Gutierrez as he walked into a liquor store.
Tun Cun’s cousin, who was driving the Toyota, also was injured and remains in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital, friends and family said Tuesday. Morales has since been charged with murder.
Funeral services for Tun Cun were held Tuesday, and services for Gutierrez are scheduled for today. But it will require more than $12,000 in airfare, burial and embalming costs to have their remains sent home — Tun Cun to Guatemala and Gutierrez to Honduras — and their families are asking for the public’s help.
“We don’t always come and ask for support [from the public], but in this instance we need it,” said the San
Francisco Archdiocese’s Julio Escobar, who is coordinating arrangements for the families.
Sending a coffin home for burial requires $2,500 in airfare alone, according to Escobar.
Gutierrez came to the U.S. at 18 and worked as a painter. His mother, two brothers and two sisters also are San Francisco residents, said Jorge Gutierrez, one of his brothers.
Tun Cun had lived in San Francisco since 2007 and worked in restaurants, most recently at a Mexican eatery at Mission Street and Cortland Avenue near her Bernal Heights home. She has a son, Javier, 7, in Guatemala, but was one of seven sisters living and working in the Bay Area.
“And so now there are six,” Evangelina Tun Cun, her older sister, said through an interpreter.
About 40 people attended a midday Mass for Tun Cun on Tuesday. Their stories are ones many immigrants or descendants of immigrants can identify with, said the Rev. John Jimenez, a San Francisco native who officiated the ceremony.
“They came here to work to support their families,” he said.