Death shatters family’s illusions of Clovis safety

By Darrell Todd Maurina

When Carlos Murillo and his older sisters Imelda and Ermelinda moved from California to Clovis, they thought they were coming someplace safer than their hometown of Duarte in the Pasadena suburbs.
The sisters said they never expected their brother’s life to end at the age of 27 in a bullet-riddled car after what police say was a chase through city streets early in the morning of Jan. 4.
“He’d been living in Clovis off and on since 1997,” said Ermelinda Ochoa. “I’ve been living here since about 1990 or 1991, and it looked like a nice quiet place to raise kids.”
That view of Clovis was shattered for the sisters with their brother’s death, but Imelda Towres said the family’s opinions of their adopted city began to change several years ago.
“It’s getting worse here than it is in Los Angeles,” Towres said. “In California everything is chilling, but out here, things are popping and going crazy.”
Ochoa agreed, but said the family liked Clovis when they first arrived.
“It used to be nice and quiet here. It used to be that if your car broke down, somebody would push it. Now, you need to call someone you know because you don’t know what will happen,” Ochoa said. “We’re going to be leaving here and going back home. We left California because this is what we left, so we might as well go back.”
The two sisters said even though their brother was younger, he worked hard to take care of his own daughter, 2 1/2-year-old Candace Murillo, and his sisters, nieces and nephew.
“He wasn’t just our brother, he was a friend and a father to my kids,” Towres said. “I’m a single parent, and he was very protective. He was always telling my children what they should and should not do.”
For the younger children, Towres said Murillo loved buying big stuffed animals for them and taking them out to eat.
The sisters said looking out for others was a main focus of their brother’s life.
“He was a man’s man, somebody you’d want on your side,” Ochoa said.
“A lot of people looked up to him. If any of his friends would be bullied, he wouldn’t go for that. If he saw even a stranger being bullied, he would try to prevent it. He would go up and say, ‘You shouldn’t be doing that.’ He’d go and stop fights,” Towres said. “He worked out a lot, he looked big, but he always had a smile on his face.”
“He always believed that fair is fair; if you don’t like somebody, you should be straightforward with them, and if you have a problem with them, you go deal with it,” Ochoa said.
At the time of his death Murillo was studying to be a plumber, but had originally worked at Excel Beef in Friona along with his two sisters. Ochoa and Towres said he did tattoos as a hobby and was also known for having beautiful handwriting.
While all the family members have been affected, the sisters said their California relatives have been hurt the worst.
“My mom is still in denial, and so are we, we can’t believe it,” Towres said.
The fact that most of Murillo’s relatives are still in California was what the sisters said caused the family to decide to bury him in California. Towres said about 500 friends and family members turned out for the funeral in Whittier.
Towres said she’s become frustrated that no one has yet been arrested in the death of her brother.
“Everybody knows who did it, but we don’t know why they can’t catch them,” she said.