Hundreds poured into Williams Funeral Home at 5628 Broadway on Sunday and Monday to pay their respects to Victor Maldonado, 19, who was shot and killed in front of 2805 Heath Ave. on Oct. 1.
“He helped a lot of people,” said his grandmother Poksun Glatter, trying to hold back tears.
Ms. Glatter, who is Korean, said her grandson loved Korean food and wanted to travel to Korea with the U.S. Navy. She lamented that he was never able to see the country where she was born.
“He wanted to learn Korean, too,” she said regretfully. “Too bad I didn’t teach him.”
Many of those at the wake wore baby blue T-shirts bearing the words “In Loving Memory of Vic.” The shirts bore Mr. Maldonado’s image alongside one of Batman, the teen’s idol.
A Batman towel was draped over the top of his coffin and other Batman-themed memorabilia, including a balloon and flower arrangements, surrounded it.
Mr. Maldonado was killed while allegedly intervening in a fight between two women, a final act that would have made his superhero role model proud.
Mr. Maldonado’s godmother, Jessie Vega, said he had a Batman tattoo on his right arm. She briefly left his wake on Sunday to get a similar tattoo on her left upper arm, adding his name, date of birth and death beneath the Batman symbol.
She laughed as she remembered how Mr. Maldonado accompanied her own daughter to get a tattoo last year.
“He kept joking around telling her to get a Batman tattoo,” she said.
Nayiliana De Jesus, Mr. Maldonado’s 15-year-old sister, arrived in a Navy uniform and military boots to remember her brother’s dream of joining the Navy.
“I’m choking it back. It’s really hard for me not to cry,” she said. “He was my only brother, so it’s really hard.”
Mr. Maldonado’s mother Luz De Jesus leaned over her son’s body and kissed his forehead.
Howard Glatter, Mr. Madonado’s step-grandfather, said that one week before the teen’s death he picked Mr. and Ms. Glatter up from John F. Kennedy airport after their trip to California. Mr. Glatter said that he gave him $20 for tolls and gas and another $20 for no reason.
“He raised his hand, palm out, and said, ‘Oh no, Howie. You don’t have to do that,’” Mr. Glatter said.
“All I can say is that he’ll be missed tremendously,” he said. “He’ll be a shining example for us the rest of our lives.”
A memorial mass for Mr. Maldonado was held at Our Lady of Angels Church, at 2860 Sedgwick Ave., on Tuesday.
He is survived by his father, Victor Maldonado; mother, Luz De Jesus; sister, Nayiliana De Jesus; grandfather, Angel De Jesus; grandmother, Poksun Glatter; uncle, Angel De Jesus; aunt, Valerie Torres; godfather, Benjamin De Jesus; godmothers, Jessie Vega and Serina Suarez; and godsister, Carly Lopez.