(PUEBLO, Colo.) — It has been nearly three months since the tragic shooting death of 25-year-old Marcos Gaona. As the investigation into his murder remains unsolved, Gaona’s grieving family is determined to seek answers and justice, launching a passionate call for change.

The night of June 28th, 2023, forever altered the lives of the Gaona family. Samantha Gaona, Marcos’s sister, vividly recalls the heart-wrenching moments at the crime scene. “I can’t get the black bag out of my head,” she lamented, describing the trauma of witnessing her brother’s lifeless body being loaded into a vehicle.

That night, Samantha remained steadfast even after the police told her she should go home. “I just kept thinking, I can’t leave him alone. He can’t be by himself here,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.

However, the true agony for Samantha Gaona came when she had to inform her young children about their uncle’s passing. Samantha recounted the painful conversation: “My son said… What? Why? How? What? And I said, He passed away. He was shot and killed tonight, baby.”

Marcos Gaona was more than just an uncle to his nieces and nephews; he was a constant presence in their lives. He attended their games, was there on their first days of school, and accompanied them to doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. “Marcos was such a big part of their lives,” Samantha Gaona emphasized.

But it wasn’t only Marcos’s immediate family who felt his loss profoundly. His mother, Rosemarie Gaona, tearfully remembered his funeral as standing room only, with 1,500 more mourners joining virtually via Zoom from around the country. “Because if you met Marcos, you wouldn’t forget him,” she said.

As the pain of their loss continues to haunt them, the Gaona family remains tormented by unanswered questions. Marcos’s murderer has not yet been charged, and detectives have yet to provide any insight into why he was targeted. “Why? Why?” Rosemarie Gaona pleaded. “I need somebody to do something. Because Marcos didn’t deserve this.”

In a city where the homicide rate has surged, Marcos’s case is far from an isolated incident. The family’s grief has fueled a determination to seek justice and bring about change.

“We had zero choice in losing my brother. Now we have a choice to take it lying down or fight for justice. And we’re not lying down. We are fighting,” declared Samantha Gaona.

Marcos Gaona’s tragic death marked the 12th homicide in Pueblo, a number that has since climbed to 20. Concerned about the rising violence, the Gaona family is reaching out to other affected families in the area, seeking collaboration to enact change.

“We are looking for other families like us to meet with us to see what they think will change Pueblo,” Samantha Gaona urged.

In their quest for justice and safer communities, the Gaona family has launched The Marcos Movement, a fund aimed at making a difference in Pueblo. People can donate to their organization through Cash App, which can be found on The Marcos Movement’s Facebook page. They are inviting anyone touched by a homicide in Pueblo to join their cause and reach out for support.

As the Gaona family continues to grieve and fight for answers, they hold on to the hope of preventing another family from experiencing their pain.

“Last time I talked to him, I told him I need you to come home. And he was like, I’ll be there on Sunday for Sunday dinner,” Rosemarie Gaona recalled, her voice trembling. “That’s all I want… for him to come home… just to hold him one more time.”

If you have any information about the night Marcos Gaona was killed, the Pueblo Police Department is urging witnesses who have not yet spoken to law enforcement to come forward.

Statements can be provided directly to Detective Joseph Cardona at (719) 553-3385, or if you
would like to remain anonymous, contact Pueblo Crime Stoppers at (719) 542-STOP (719-
542-7867) or www.pueblocrimestoppers.com.

If your information leads to a felony arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.