Family of slain Fil-Am seeks justice

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at May 21 2014 06:20 PM | Updated as of May 22 2014 07:04 PM

SAN FRANCISCO – It has been two weeks since the death of Stephen Guillermo, the 26-year-old Fil-Am from San Francisco who was allegedly shot by his 68-year-old neighbor, Amisi Kachepa, after attempting to enter the wrong apartment.

On Monday night Guillermo’s cousin, Emil, was at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco to talk about the victim's life and how justice should be served.

After turning himself in, Kachepa was released by the D.A. for lack of evidence.

The Guillermo family wants authorities to hold Kachepa responsible.

"Stephen gave me something really personal to talk about and I felt compelled to take this opportunity to put him in the right context," Emil said. "Stephen was a product of immigration. He was a product of the diaspora. He was the next generation of American Filipino. And he was also more than just an innocent victim of an American handgun."

Rocky Chau, a close friend of Stephen, started a petition to get a thousand signatures to urge the District Attorney to charge Kachepa.

"This is important to me because for one thing this is my friend. This is my friend of five years. I know this man very well," Chau said.

Emil said justice could be served with more support from the community.

He cited a case in Montana where a man is being charged with homicide for allegedly killing a German foreign exchange student who entered his garage.

Emil hopes that the Philippine government could offer some support just as the German government did in the Montana case.

"Maybe the reason why this happened in Montana is because the German government pressured the DA," Emil said. "I implore the Philippine government to help the relatives of Stephen Guillermo including the two dual citizens who seek answers from the DA. I think that might be a route and I hope the Philippine government will take that seriously, that request."

Stephen was his family’s breadwinner and was set to graduate this month from San Francisco State University. The university plans to award Stephen a posthumous degree in international relations.

The chair of the International Relations Department at SFSU, Sophie Clavier, reached out to the Guillermo family.

"In an email to me she wrote, 'he was such a hard working young man and such a nice person. My heart goes out to you as I remember Stephen’s beautiful smile. The I.R. department grieves for you'," Emil read.

The family is set to receive Stephen’s degree at a special ceremony at San Francisco State. For now, they continue to they carry on the fight until they say justice is finally served.