WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A shooting Saturday night has left a Wichita family grieving the loss of their 17-year-old son.
Diego Benitez, 17, was shot multiple times near McCormick and Meridian Ave. in Wichita. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are still searching for the suspect.
According to Benitez’s girlfriend, Analysa Patterson, he was rarely upset and a joy to be around.
“He always made sure everybody was happy, good,” Patterson said. “He was there for everybody.”
Benitez and Patterson met roughly six months ago, and she said she immediately fell in love.
“He always told me you always have to have a smile on your face, because you don’t know when your last moments will be. So you have to make them last.”
“Every time he would see me down, he was the first one to say ‘come on baby, put that smile on your face, you know that makes me happy'”, Patterson said.
Benitez lived in Emporia, but he spent most of his life in Wichita. The long-distance never stopped him from seeing his girlfriend. Patterson said she still struggles to process the fact that he is gone.
“I didn’t believe it,” Patterson said. “I was at a loss for words. When I had met him, I know he was going through a rough patch in his life, but I never gave up on him.”
Patterson does take comfort in the fact that he was not alone when he died, as two people from the neighborhood where was shot stayed with him and called 911.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Knowing that he had somebody there really helps me sleep better at night, just knowing that they tried to help him,” Patterson said.
Patterson is searching for the two people who called 911, and stayed and helped Benitez