A year, 365 days. It’s not enough to heal when someone you love is shot to his death.

Three families, united by blood and friendship and deadly violence, have spent 12 months since June 11, 2023 trying to make sense of something unthinkable — life without a son, a husband, a brother.

When Harcinia Ruiz talks about her son Mario Mireles Ruiz, she wipes away tears with a crumpled tissue. “He was such a good boy,” she says. “He was such a good boy.”

Sandra Mireles-Perez looks away and squeezes her eyes shut when a conversation about the death of her husband, Nicolas Mireles, and the resilience of her eight children turns to her.

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“It’s really, really hurting her just to remember,” the translator says, referring to Mireles-Perez, who was also Mario’s stepmother.

Christian and Marianella Segovia, who lost a son, accuse Gov. Wes Moore and others in government of not doing enough to fulfill their promise of help. But their eyes soften and anger fades to regret when they talk about their 7-year-old grandson. He lives with his mother now, and doesn’t want to visit the home they once shared now that his father, Christian Segovia, is gone forever.

“We lost two people,” Marianella said. “We feel really lonely.”

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, some of these survivors will walk together from Lawyers Mall to City Dock in downtown Annapolis, where they will hold a vigil to remember the lives of Mario Mireles Ruiz, 27, of Annapolis, his father Nicolas Mireles, 55, of Odenton and their friend Christian Segovia Jr., 24, of Severn. They want to draw attention to what was lost, and they want something more.

“What we really want is justice,” said Judith Abundez, Mario’s fiancee.

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Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, center, talks to the news media as Police Chief ed Jackson listens after a triple homicide Sunday, June 11
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, center, addresses the news media as Police Chief Ed Jackson listens following a mass shooting in Annapolis on Sunday, June 11, 2023. Three people were killed, including a father and son, and three others were wounded. (Rick Hutzell/The Baltimore Banner)

The three men died and three other people were wounded on the night of June 11, 2023, in what police say was an outburst of violence by a man living with his mother near the Ruiz home. It was a tragic ending to a party for a network of families and friends from Annapolis’ Latino community.

Police say it stemmed from a dispute over parking on Paddington Place, the latest of many disagreements between Ruiz family members and neighbor Charles Robert Smith. The families say it was more than that — hate aimed at the victims because their families are from Mexico, El Salvador and Peru.

“The way I see it, as a Latina business owner, is that Annapolis, across the board, is better than what happened,” said Roxana Rodriguez, who owns a restaurant about a mile from the shooting. “It’s a tragedy.”

Police say Mario Mireles Ruiz went over to their neighbors’ house to discuss parking when he was confronted by Smith. There was an argument, then a fight.

Smith pulled out a gun and shot Mario Mireles Ruiz and Christian Segovia, Jr., police said in charging documents, then went into his home, set up a rifle and fired from his front window at those coming to help. Mario’s father, Nicolas, was killed and three others wounded.

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Annapolis police arrived and Smith surrendered.

Kids who’d attended the party were kept there by police into the night, with some able to see the bodies from the front yard of a house where they had celebrated hours earlier.

There was a news conference that night, and then another one the next day. The families held a vigil at City Dock and met with the governor.

Some received financial and other assistance through Social Security or the state’s Office of Crime Prevention and Policy. Others, because they didn’t complete paperwork or qualify, got no official help.

“Gov. Moore takes tragedies like this seriously, which is why he takes it upon himself to individually visit families involved in horrific events like the ones that took place in Annapolis last year,” a spokesperson for the governor said.

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And then, for most of us, life moved on.

There’s another shooting, another outrage. Life is busy, and we just simply forget because the bullets did not touch our families.

Smith, who is white, is sitting in the county jail on Jennifer Road, charged with murder, attempted murder, assault and hate crimes. The trial is now set for early next year.

Highs and lows. A year after the shooting deaths, the families have experienced them all.

“I’ve had good days and bad,” said Judith Abundez, who was pregnant with the couple’s second child when Mario died. He’ll turn 1 in September. “Me and the boys.”

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The families of Mario Mireles, 27, Nicholas Mireles, 55, and Christian Segovia, 25, gather in Annapolis to honor them with a vigil on June 18, 2023. All three men were killed in a mass shooting on June 11.
The families of Mario Mireles, 27, Nicolas Mireles, 55, and Christian Segovia, 24, gather in Annapolis to honor them with a vigil on June 18, 2023. A second walk and vigil is planned for Tuesday June 11, 2024 to mark one year since the shooting. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

The good days include the one when neighbor Cynthia Krewson called Harcinia Ruiz and suggested repainting one of the welcome signs at the end of the street where Mario grew up and died from “Wilshire” to “Mireles.” And they did.

The bad days are when Ruiz thinks about selling her house, leaving behind the reminders of Mario’s absence — and the house where the man charged with his murder lived.

Smith’s mother, Shirley Smith, isn’t living on the street full time, Ruiz said, but a man is regularly working on the house.

Sometimes Ruiz thinks he’s staring at her.

“I stopped working because I’ve been too depressed,” she said. “It’s been too much. I have cancer. My son died. It’s been too much.”

Good day. Annapolis Hope, Guadalupe Ministry, Naptown Scoop publisher Ryan Sneddon and others are raising funds to help Mireles-Perez buy the house in Odenton, where she lives with her children. The owner had agreed to sell it to her late husband.

After the mass shooting, the owner lowered the price to $247,000 — about $10,000 less than its value — if the family can raise the money by August.

A fundraiser cruise aboard the skipjack Wilma Lee is set for Tuesday, the same day as the vigil. Other events are planned.

“A lot of the volunteers and other organizations in Annapolis are really helping us and we have close to $140,000 right now,” said Susy Cruz, who works at Guadalupe Ministry, which is part of St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis. “Our goal is, in June and July, to get the rest of the money. We’re gonna close the deal.”

And bad. Attorneys representing Smith, 44, have pointed to his Army service record and said he has post-traumatic stress disorder.

They’ve also raised the prospect of shifting blame as a defense, saying without evidence in a court hearing that some of the victims might have had gang connections.

“That was extremely offensive to us,” said Christian Segovia, Christian’s father. “Because we’re Hispanics we’re gang members? Even the lawyer was being a racist.”

“It’s because we have tattoos,” Marianella Segovia said, pointing to the rose on her forearm. “Everybody has tattoos.”

The families are together. They want the men remembered for their lives, not their deaths.

Mario Mireles Ruiz and Nicolas Mireles owned their own small businesses, and Christian Segovia Jr., was completing school to be a mechanic.

“I just, I want them to never be forgotten,” said Nelcy Goss, Mario’s sister and organizer of Tuesday’s vigil. “I wanted newspeople there. I wanted this to be on TV so people can see it. And I plan on doing this every year. I never want anybody to forget them.”

Goss joined her mother, her husband and son; Mario’s fiancee and their sons; and brothers, sisters and many young children at the Mireles sign on Thursday. They seemed happy for the moment.

Christian Segovia, Sandra Mireles-Perez, center, and Marianella Segovia are still grieving the deaths of their loved ones in the June 11, 2023 mass shooting in Annapolis.
Christian Segovia, Sandra Mireles-Perez, center, and Marianella Segovia are still grieving the deaths of their loved ones in the June 11, 2023 mass shooting in Annapolis. (Rick Hutzell)

And they are apart.

The Segovias said they didn’t know about the vigil or the Mass in Spanish that will follow at St. John Neumann Catholic Church until last weekend, and Mireles-Perez is unlikely to attend because there’s no one to care for her children.

A school bus driver who works mostly around Fort Meade, Marianella Segovia avoids the part of Annapolis where her son died. Christian Segovia wonders how his son will be remembered.

“Where’s the sign that says Segovia?” he asks.

Family and friends of Mario Mireles Ruiz, 27, Nicolas Mireles, 55, and Christian Segovia, 24, gather in Annapolis to honor them with a vigil on June 18, 2023. All three men were killed in a mass shooting on June 11. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

A year. Maybe It’s too soon to look for something, anything good that can come from a violent loss of life. But there are signs.

The Moore administration won passage of a bill that will remove many of the limits on state help for crime victims when it takes effect in 2025, like a rule that bans financial aid for people who benefit from private fundraisers.

Gun violence in Annapolis is down, as it is in Baltimore.

And maybe the shooting, the vigils and the fundraisers will be a catalyst for the Latino community in Annapolis.

“Maybe this will make us feel like we can support each other,” Rodriguez said.