The day before Ocasis Ku was fatally shot inside his home in North Long Beach, the 28-year-old was glowing after announcing that he was going to be a dad for the first time, his family said.

This past Sunday evening, Ku was eating pizza with his family. They joked around and reminisced about old stories.

“He was goofy,” his younger sister, Edith Esquivel, said. “He was just always joking around, making everyone laugh.”

That night, Ku shared with his mother how excited he was to have a child with his girlfriend of three years. He planned to propose soon and get married before the baby arrived.

His family could see he had finally found someone whom he really loved. Someone he was inseparable from, they added.

But the following morning, as Ku’s family slept inside his home in the 3300 block of Andy Street, the sound of several gunshots coming from downstairs jolted everyone awake. Ku’s girlfriend, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend and that couple’s two young children were all in the house along with Ku.

The family quickly made their way into the downstairs bedroom, where they found Ku lying on the bathroom floor, gasping for air. At least three bullets had been fired through Ku’s closet door into the bathroom. Two of them struck his upper torso, his family said.

Paramedics quickly arrived at the home where they began performing CPR on Ku, his family said. But when they wheeled him out in the stretcher, Ku’s family, still in shock, could see him fading away, they said.

“I love you, stay with us,” they told him.

Ku was pronounced dead soon after being transported to a local hospital.

A small candlelight vigil in Ku’s honor lies on the back patio of his room. Photo courtesy of Ku’s family.

In less than 24 hours, an LBPD SWAT unit took 38-year-old Dany Hernandez into custody as a suspect in the shooting. Police said Hernandez, who shares custody of a 5-year-old child with Ku’s girlfriend, arrived unannounced at the North Long Beach home around 10:25 a.m. Monday.

“He forced his way into the home, shot the victim, and left the scene by unknown means prior to the officers’ arrival,” according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Hernandez made his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon where he was charged with murder. He remains in jail in lieu of $3.05 million bail  His brother, 39-year-old Ismael Hernandez, was also arrested on suspicion of helping him evade arrest, police said.

With the motive still under investigation, Ku’s mother, Cassidy Dominguez, has been left without answers. She said she doesn’t understand why someone would want to randomly take her son’s life.

“These last few days I’ve just been in shock,” Dominguez said. “My baby is supposed to bury me. I’m not supposed to bury him.”

Ku, also known as Jr. to his loved ones, was born Dec. 26, 1993, at St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, Dominguez said.

His family remembers him as the protector who always went out of his way to look out for his sisters.

“He had a really big heart,” his mother said.

He was also a jokester, they recalled, who would not fail to make everyone laugh, even in the most serious of moments.

“When he walked into a room, we all knew,” his sister said with a slight chuckle.

They recalled how much Ku enjoyed singing and dancing.

How he loved football, and as a big fan of the New Orlean Saints and the University of Southern California, he could often be seen wearing a Reggie Bush or Drew Brees jersey.

Ocasis Ku (right) poses in his football jersey in an undated photo. Courtesy of Ku’s family.

But his greatest joy came when he found out he was going to be a father.

“He told me, ‘I’m gonna make you proud mom. I’m gonna be a good dad, and I’m gonna make you proud,'” Dominguez said.

In the days since her son’s death, Dominguez has been having trouble trying to process how it all happened.

“I’m trying to build myself back up,” she said. “I’ve never had this much pain in my whole life. His life was just cut too short for nothing.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by Ku’s family to cover the cost of funeral expenses. It has raised $310 out of the $30,000 goal as of Thursday. 

Editor’s Note: The headline of this story was updated to provide proper attribution. 

Man arrested in connection with shooting death of ex-girlfriend’s new partner, police say