Above and below: Members of the Japantown and Western Addition communities paid their respects to Gavin Boston in Peace Plaza. (Buddhist Church of San Francisco)

SAN FRANCISCO — A memorial for Gavin Boston, a security guard who was killed while on duty, was held Jan. 31 in Japantown’s Peace Plaza.

Boston, 40, was fatally shot at the Japan Center’s Kinokuniya Building on Jan. 4 by a 15-year-old whose name has not been released. A 14-year-old is accused of being an accomplice. Boston had only been on the job for two months but was well liked by the merchants.

The gathering, which included a candlelight vigil, was organized by Japantown and Western Addition community organizations, including the Japanese American Religious Federation and We Are One.

Speakers included Boston’s sister, Carla Seawright, and brother, Jon Boston; San Francisco Supervisors Dean Preston and Ahsha Safai; Rev. Amos Brown of Third Baptist Church and San Francisco NAACP; Jeff Matsuoka of We Are One; and Rev. Elaine Donlin of Buddhist Church of San Francisco.

“It was a real shock to us, to say the least, that this is the way he would be taken from us,” said Seawright. “It’s going to be a long road ahead of us. Never thought I’d have to deal with the court system before. We’ve been made to understand that we won’t even see a trial for this young man for another year and a half.”

The family said they learned Boston had talked with the teen for about seven minutes before the boy turned a gun on him.

Noting that the family is more saddened than angry, Seabright said that her brother would not want to see the young man’s life go to waste and expressed hope that the juvenile justice system will help him turn his life around.

A GoFundMe campaign launched by the family has raised more than $30,000.

“We reached our goals of holding a family ceremony to celebrate Gavin’s life, and to help with the family’s travel expenses to be able to attend the ceremony,” the family said in a statement. “Fundraising continues to help cover the expenses of navigating the legal process …

“If we meet our goal of $40,000, any surplus donations will be given in Gavin’s name to a nonprofit that helps at-risk children and youth, including outpatient behavioral/mental health support and case management services.”

“Continued prayers for the Boston family, our communities, merchants, and especially to the spirit of Gavin,” Alice Kawahatsu of Konko Church of San Francisco said after the event. “We must do more to stop gun violence and show our compassion to all people.”

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