South Bay News

EXCLUSIVE: Family remembers SJ murder victim

Friday, November 23, 2012
Rory and Dylan Park-Pettiford Jonathan Wilbanks and second suspect Jonathan Wilbanks and second suspect

A family in the South Bay is not spending this holiday weekend like most of us. Instead they are preparing to bury their youngest son. Rory Park-Pettiford became San Jose's 42nd homicide -- he was the innocent victim of one of the city's most violent crime sprees.

In an exclusive interview with ABC7, his grieving father and brother said they are struggling to comprehend this tragedy, but want to extend their thanks to the community for the outpouring of support.

Rory Park-Pettiford and his older brother Dylan will never again have the chance to pose or laugh together. Dylan is trying to come to grips with the senseless crime that took his brother's life one week ago.

"Rory died because he wanted to get a slurpee at 7-11," Dylan said. "And he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's unacceptable. I can't accept that."

The 22-year-old Campbell resident became a carjacking victim in a deadly crime spree that included four robberies and a brazen assault on police.

One of the men accused of the crimes, Jonathan Wilbanks, could potentially face the death penalty if convicted. Police are still desperately searching for a second suspect.

"I would hope that he turns himself in before he hurts anyone else or before he gets hurt," said the victim's father, Rory Sr.

While police try to bring the people responsible to justice, the family is most grateful for the outpouring of support and donations to help with Rory's funeral. Dylan is an Iraq War veteran now living in Hawaii. He flew home Wednesday.

"All the support from, you know, folks in San Jose and in Campbell, that's the only thing that's getting me through this right now honestly," Dylan said.

The brothers are five years apart. They grew up with a Korean mother and African American father. Choking back tears, their dad told me he is proud of what that diversity taught his sons.

"If his mother and I gave him everything, anything, it was the ability to be among all people," said Rory Sr.

Family and friends are holding onto memories and sorting through photos; pictures never meant to be frozen in time so soon.

"I want Rory to know that we all have his back and that a lot of people love him," Dylan said.

A memorial service for Rory will be held Saturday. If you would like to attend or support the family, click here.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
san jose, shooting, crime, south bay news, karina rusk
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