Fabian Sanchez-Gonzalez had made plans. When he got home from work, he would pay the mortgage bill. To celebrate Children’s Day, a Mexican holiday, he would take everyone out to eat.

“Don’t worry,” he’d told his family that morning. The mortgage payment was due the next day, but he assured them, “When I come back, the first thing we’ll do is pay it off.”

Fabian never did come back that day.

On April 30, Fabian was shot during an armed robbery at T-Mobile’s Canton location where he worked. A day later, the 23-year-old died at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

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Police have arrested two people — an 18-year-old and his 14-year-old brother — and charged them with first-degree murder.

Carlos Sanchez-Gonzalez said he misses the comfort his older brother brought his family. He misses his presence, his jokes. Carlos, 18, remembers the way his brother always put others before himself, always made sure everyone else was OK.

Fabian worked hard for his family. He has three brothers in the United States, along with his parents and extended relatives.

After his mother and father were no longer able to work due to health issues, Fabian dropped out of Benjamin Franklin High School at Masonville Cove in 12th grade to help support them and his brothers.

It was an easy decision for him, Carlos remembers. “Because it’s always his family first,” he said. “He was the one who was always there for us.”

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He started working at T-Mobile in 2018. He often worked double shifts, 14 to 15 hours a day. Sometimes he worked six-day weeks. If another employee called out of work, he’d volunteer.

With the money he made, he’d buy food and snacks for his brothers. If they needed clothing, he’d pay for it.

Even if he only had $20 in his pocket, he’d ask, “Bro, what do you want?”

He sometimes went without eating, because he wanted to make sure his mother, father and brothers had everything they needed.

His dream, Carlos said, was to save up and buy a house for his parents in a safer area than where they live now in Lakeland, a neighborhood in South Baltimore.

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“His goal in life was to get his family ahead,” Carlos said. “He was the one who kept us going.”

Fabian showed he cared in other ways, too. If he found out what jokes made you laugh the hardest, he’d try to tell more of them when he was around you. Sometimes that was dark humor. Other times, it was “dad jokes,” Carlos recalled.

When others worried, Fabian would counter: “What if it turns out to be a success? Think about it that way.”

Fabian loved to play video games like “Call of Duty.” He liked to watch movies. He made up funny words.

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A stocky guy, Fabian liked to tell his family: “I’m not big, I’m not fat, I’m just filled with love.”

Following Fabian’s death, support has poured out on social media. Two former schools he attended released statements in mourning.

In an emailed statement, T-Mobile called the shooting a “tragic situation.”

“We continue to send our condolences to the friends, family and co-workers of the employee whose life was cut short,” a spokesperson wrote. “We take the safety of employees seriously and will do everything we can to support our third-party retailer as this investigation continues.”

On Thursday, Carlos fought back tears. Fabian was always there when you needed him to be, he remembers. Now, his big brother is gone.

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“If you needed a shoulder to lean on, he would be that shoulder,” he said. “If you just needed positivity, he would be that positivity. If you just needed somebody to joke around with, he would joke around with you.”

cadence.quaranta@thebaltimorebanner.com