Mario Morales-Moreno was an Army veteran and father of two children who was a fixture in his North Long Beach neighborhood, according to a neighbor. Photo courtesy Kristi Wyffels.

A neighbor has started a fundraiser for the family of a 51-year-old man who was killed by what appears to have been stray gunfire outside his home last week.

Mario Morales-Moreno was an Army veteran and father of two children who was a fixture in his North Long Beach neighborhood near Atlantic Avenue and 61st Street, neighbor Kristi Wyffels said in the online fundraiser.

She said Morales-Moreno was “randomly shot and killed while gardening outside his home.”

Police said Morales-Moreno was fatally wounded when someone fired  “numerous rounds” around 6:44 p.m. on April 4.

The gunfire also hit another man who was taken to the hospital where he was expected to survive his wounds, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Mario Morales-Moreno when he was younger. Photo courtesy Kristi Wyffels.

Detectives are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting, but they do not believe Morales-Moreno was the intended target, police said.

Shortly after the shooting, police arrested a man whom they found nearby with a gun, but the LBPD said last week that they’re still trying to determine if he was involved in the shooting.

Wyffels said Morales-Moreno was an inspiration to the neighborhood, where he was willing to help anyone and always looked out for others.

Mario Morales-Moreno was an Army veteran and father of two children who was a fixture in his North Long Beach neighborhood, according to a neighbor. Photo courtesy GoFundMe.

She said he worked hard to get his master’s degree after losing his job during the COVID-19 closures.

“As neighbors we are heartbroken and his family is still in shock,” Wyffels said. “Mario had so many hopes and dreams for his future. He was taken from us too soon.”

Morales-Moreno is survived by his wife and two children, according to Wyffels. She said any money collected through the fundraiser would be deposited into a family account opened by his daughter.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.