AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – A 6-year-old boy, whose father was killed in a crime spree last month, told his mom he wants a telescope for Christmas “so he can see daddy in the sky.”
It is Emmanuel and Angela’s first Christmas in America. They came here from Colombia earlier this year to find a better, safer life. Emmanuel was very close to his father and was in the car when he was shot and killed. Carlos Julio Albarracin was just 34 years old.
Now, the community is coming together to make sure he and his mom are cared for this holiday season. Daniel Smafield and his wife are friends of the family.
“Honestly it’s day by day. We’ve been trying to do things to welcome them to the community. They came over for Thanksgiving and some Colombian holidays. We’ve had fun times, but there’s also a lot of difficult times. I joined them at the court where they saw the suspect for the first time and so that was their hardest day,” Smafield said.
“It’s been very difficult. Even when they are trying to have good times, when Angela is trying to be strong for her son, there’s always the knowledge the father’s not there. That Carlos Julio isn’t there. He should be there helping him ice skate, being in America for the first Christmas,” Smafield added.
The Smafield’s have adopted the family and connected them with people who want to help as well. He said they need help after losing half of the family’s income.
“To most Americans, you’d probably say they were struggling before Carlos Julio got murdered, but to them, they were fine because it was the first step in the rest of their life. They were fine struggling now to build a better future for Emanuel. Now they lost half of their income. Just anything anyone can do to help them get to a better place is what we are hoping for. It was just seeing them completely lost in the system. They were new to the country. They don’t know. It’s hard enough for an American to know how to navigate the system. I knew we couldn’t let the family go and we have to keep on doing what we could to get them back to something stable,” Smafield said.
“You know this suspect took something from their lives. They shouldn’t rob them of their future too. This is a very sad time for them, but they need to still go on with life, experience things and, know they are welcome in the community,” Smafield said
They have set up a GoFundMe page, as well as a gift registry on Amazon and Target.
“I took him to target to help me pick out gifts for my nephew because I didn’t know what my nephew would want is what I told him. He ran through Target and was pointing at things that he thought my nephew would like. That’s how I got the list for the gift registry,” Smafield said.
“Some people want to give in a very specific way. For example, we had I believe the Holmes Creek Disabled Veterans Hunting Program reached out and they wanted to donate food to the family. They gave some processed meat of animals they hunted here in Colorado. We were able to connect them to the family. They gave them a very large gift card to King Soopers,” Smafield said.
Emmanuel is an energetic boy, who is learning English and French. He and his mom aren’t used to being on the receiving end of so much generosity.
“She wants to express to people how amazing it’s been. How she never expected to get so much support from people she’s never met before. I think she’s seen the best of Colorado and this country,” Smafield said.