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Immigrant from Yucatán gunned down in U.S. remembered as a ‘light’

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Friends of Carlos Chan Cocom left flowers and photos with messages outside of his home in San Francisco. Photo: Mission Local


Friends are remembering Carlos Chan Cocom, who migrated from Yucatán to California where he worked as a waiter, as “the light of the room.”

The 33-year-old Akil native was gunned down outside his apartment in June. His brother, 32-year-old Elmer, was shot seven times but survived. Police are still investigating whether the brothers were targeted.

Chan Cocom was recalled as a sweet, ambitious man who sent money home to his family in Akil, and who dreamed of opening his own place back in Yucatán.

He is one of the five homicide victims in San Francisco’s Mission District — a magnet for Yucatecan immigrants — so far this year.

Chan Cocom came to the United States more than 10 years ago , rising to become a full-time server at Californios, a high-end restaurant with two Michelin stars.

“He was the light of the room,” said Charlotte Randolph, one of the owners of Californios. She remembered his dimples, and said that when the staff went out together to socialize, he was always smiling.

She wanted him to attend her upcoming wedding in Mexico, but he did not have a green card — although he was working on getting one.

His friends called him “El Yuca,” according to Mario Juárez, another friend.

Both Juárez and Randolph described Chan Cocom as a family man who worked hard to send money back home to his family, which owns a fruit store in Yucatán.

The restaurant set up an online fundraiser for the family of Chan-Cocom that has raised more than $17,000 in 23 days. The money is expected to be used for burial and medical expenses.

Carlos’ funeral was on July 8 in Yucatán.

Sources: Mission Local, San Francisco Examiner

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