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'He was the happiness in my home.' Family remembers innocent Guadalupe man killed in officer-involved shooting

JUAN OLVERA.JPG
Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 22:56:50-04

The family of the innocent bystander who was shot and killed during an officer-involved shooting in Guadalupe last month is sharing memories of the beloved husband, father and grandfather.

The shooting happened on August 21, just south of City Hall near Obispo and Birch Streets.

Police say when rounds were fired at a wanted felon, Juan Olvera was hit instead. He died while sitting in his vehicle.

On Friday afternoon, there was a mass and a celebration of life for the 59-year-old with dozens of family members in attendance.

Life was about family for Olvera.

"He was the heart of everybody," said his son, Juan Olvera Jr.

He was a husband, a father of four, and a grandfather to six with one on the way.

"He was a great man," said his oldest son, Luis Olvera. "He teached me how to work. He teached me how to be a man."

"As his only daughter, he always made me feel special," said his daughter, Zuli Olvera. "Whenever I would run into trouble or my car would break down or even if I needed food for work, he would drop everything to take it to me."

In 2001, Olvera and his family moved to Guadalupe.

He worked for Freitas Brothers in charge of irrigation.

He was married to his wife for nearly 40 years with their anniversary next month.

"My husband sustained us," said wife, Silvia. "He was the happiness in my home."

The family is remembering their special memories with him.

"He's a real funny man. He always had jokes," said daughter-in-law, Christina Olvera.

His oldest son taught him how to drive a tractor.

"He was afraid and I told him, 'Hey dad, just drive the tractor. It's going to be okay. I'm not going to leave. I'm here. I'm going to guide you on how to do it.' It was the best. The best years of my life working with him," Luis said.

The family wants to thank the community for the outpouring of support as they continue to mourn Juan Olvera.

"He showed us how to be strong and keep moving forward so together, that's what we're going to do," Zuli said.

"We're going to miss him immensely," added family friend, Maria Ortega.

The family says Guadalupe Police Chief Michael Cash has visited their home during this difficult time to offer his condolences.

Meanwhile, the officer involved in the shooting has been identified by the DOJ as Miguel Jaimes.

Under a new law, the California Department of Justice and the Attorney General's Office are required to handle the criminal investigation into the shooting because it resulted in the death of an unarmed civilian.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Maria Police Department are involved in the investigation as well.