Wednesday evening. Photo by Alison Le Roy

Camilo Senchyna-Beltran, 26, took a break from a busy life as an EMT when he went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday Saturday night at Bruno’s on Mission Street. By Sunday morning, he was dead.

Friends said he was in front of Bruno’s at 2 a.m. when a friend and an unidentified suspect got into an argument. Senchyna-Beltran stepped in to stop the fight. The suspect turned on him and fired one shot into his chest. He was pronounced dead at Francisco General Hospital, according to police and friends.

The suspect fled and police have not released a description.

“That was a random act — no one knew the person,” said Angela Tharp, a friend. “He didn’t get into problems, he had a lot to lose.”

Senchyna-Beltran, who was just a week shy of his 27th birthday, was an EMT in the South Bay who was on his way to becoming a paramedic, a progress he documented on Instagram.

An only child, who was raised by his mother on Hampshire Street in the Mission, he was following his mother’s footsteps who worked for more than 30 years as a health worker, most recently at San Francisco General Hospital.

Senchyna-Beltran’s co-workers at Falck medical company remembered him as a positive person who was always working.

“He was great to work with, we had some great conversation,” said Leslie Chans. “Of course everyone complained about their job but he never once took it for granted, he never complained and was respectful and kind to patients.”

Senchyna-Beltran’s mother’s family is from the Ukraine and Ireland, while his father is from El Salvador. Before his murder, he lived with his mother and grandmother in Bernal Heights.

His Instagram account paints a portrait of a man who was a sneakerhead, a big fan of the 49ers, Giants and IPA-style beers. He also occasionally posted photos of his progress to becoming a paramedic in San Francisco.

“One more small step toward the ultimate goal,” he wrote after posting a photo showing that he passed the California Physical Ability Test from the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee. “But patience is a virtue,” the message continued.

“I felt like I was similar to him. I kind looked up to him a little, ‘if he can do it I can do it,” said his co-worker Donovan Dowdell.

Several dozens of his friends gathered for a vigil at the corner of 20th and Mission streets on Tuesday night to remember him. They are expecting to gather there again on Saturday to celebrate what would have been his 27th birthday.

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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  1. Clare, My heart is heavy after hearing from Rio of your loss & Camilo’s passing. There are few words to soothe such grief. I hear only the steady rhythm of the ocean here in Chacala, Mexico. Doña Lupe &I lit a candle for Camilo last nite & placed on her Guadalupana altar. You & your son were both blessed to have shared so much love & trust with each other. The essence of your love will live on as it is being carried forth by your own words to spread love & kindness. I will do my best. You & yor familia are in my prayers.Con cariño. Mishwa

  2. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. I am sorry for the loss of your beloved son.

  3. Clare, my heart cries deeply for your loss. I met your son once, and I remember him being a wonderful, kind young man. I had told you, I loved his name. Why are the best taken from us? I am praying for you and your family. Be Blessed…….Carla

  4. Clare, I’m so very sorry for your loss. I just learnt of this today. Sending you a huge hug, Ursula

  5. Oh Clare….I am so, so, sorry for your loss. Camilo was indeed a beautiful young man, inside and out, just like his mama. I remember you often shared with us such wonderful stories about him during our Urgent Care days together. The entire world has suffered an incredible loss as a result of this senseless act. Know that my thoughts are with you and your family, and please let me know if I can help in any way. Sending you much love and prayers.
    <3 Angel

    1. Clare, I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved son. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time.

  6. my baby , my proud young man, i thought he was the greatest son i could ever wish for, we shared such love & laughs & life. he was so serious in his work as a EMT & paramedic, we shared our common work together in many evening talks, we planned for the future, we knew we would always be together through this life, i was always so amazed to to have him as my son & family. i still and always will have him with me, but the lounging to share a hug, a kiss, a laugh, a future plan is unbearable. i will walk in the life of grief like so many before me. please spread kindness and love to all around you,family,friends and strangers, it’s all we really got.

    1. Condolences to your family. So sorry for your loss, and agree that spreading kindness and love is the best way to honor your son.

    2. Clare, you and your family are in my heart and thoughts, I know how proud of him you are and I loved hearing the great things he did, I can not imagine your loss but am here for you anytime! Jane Newhard

    3. My heart breaks for you. You are an incredibly strong woman to want to spread love and kidness to those that you know and even those that you don’t at a time like this. This speaks to the person you are and the son that you raised. May he rest in peace.

  7. If only the person who killed my cousin’s only son could see the pain and destruction caused by this thoughtless, violent act. Camillo was bright, hardworking, sweet, and lovable. He was a role model for other boys growing up to serve others and help save lives. Camilo’s mother, grandmother, extended friends and family all grieve for him. He was a beautiful young man.

  8. Why no description if the killer? Don’t the police want to catch him? Shouldn’t the public.know? What if he shoots someone else? No description is bad policing AND bad reporting.

  9. My condolences to the family. I walked by the candles on the sidewalk the other day and had no idea what the memorial was for.

    Unfortunately some child with a gun, decided to be tough guy. Nothing but a coward, and a disgrace to the community.

    My prayers go out to those who are mourning this lose.

  10. Gracias, Rigoberto Hernandez, for this beautiful story about my nephew. We are all heartbroken by this senseless loss.Thank you for portraying Camilo as more than a statistic in the crime reports. He died trying to do the right thing. Tragically, in trying to stop the violence from escalating, he became a victim of that very same violence.

  11. So very sorry to hear this, sad for the family and friends of Camilo. May he rest in peace, and I hope the police get some leads on who this coward is who shot him. So senseless.

  12. Some chicken shit with a gun, too much of a coward to face something he is afraid of so he takes a good person from us…….