By STEVE SALDIVAR
Luis Marquez was known as the Water Man. In total, he brought 8,000 gallons of water to immigrants coming from Mexico to the dangerous deserts in Texas and California. For the last three years, however, Marquez has walked the loneliest terrain of all–a life without his son. What’s more, who murdered 21-year-old Brian Marquez remains a mystery.
To help solve it, Marquez unveiled a billboard on a September afternoon, promoting an anonymous tip line and a city-backed offer of $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
The 46 year-old Mission District resident, a janitor for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s downtown offices, said neighborhoods haven’t taken up the responsibility of finding his son’s killer. The lack of mobilization, he added, has created a culture where homicide is the norm.
“We need to be more informed about how the world looks for someone who has lost someone,” said Marquez. “We lack the unity.”
The Office of the Mayor of San Francisco is backing the reward offer and Clear Channel donated the billboard space to the Marquez family for at least two weeks, according to Amber Ishikawa, the company’s public affairs coordinator.
The billboard was unveiled Thursday, September 4 on Maynard and Mission but will travel to different Mission District neighborhoods. The first location was selected by the family because it will reach working-class Hispanics affected by the violence. Future locations have yet to be determined.
Brian Marquez was attending a baptism party on September 3, 2005, when he left the party to meet with a friend. Instead, he met his end when he was shot multiple times and was found dead on Alabama Street.
At the time, the 21-year-old was attending the City College of San Francisco studying art and worked from home as a tattoo artist.
“The District Attorney’s office should be more involved,” said Norma Marquez, Brian’s sister. “The bureaucracy of departments limits our family from advocating more.”
Miguel Angel Marquez, Brian’s eight-year-old brother, closed the event, attended by only a few cameras and curious bystanders. As he began to speak, his father snatched his hat and sunglasses off his face. Then he was ready.
“We’ve been wrestling with this for the past three years,” the young boy said.