PASADENA >> Sarah Mendoza-Jaime of Altadena has spent the past 34 years helping the community in times of need through her work, but two months after the mysterious slaying of her 27-year-old son in Pasadena, she is reaching out to that same community in her search for justice.
Robert Arthur Calderon of Altadena was gunned down about 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 18 in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue, according to Pasadena police and Los Angeles County coroner officials. The case remains unsolved.
Calderon was well-known and well-liked by peers, according to loved ones, because of both his outgoing personality and his mother’s work as program coordinator at the Foothill Workforce Development Board, where she helps struggling community members find jobs.
Mendoza-Jaime implored anyone with information about the killing to come forward and help police catch Calderon’s killer.
“Although it wouldn’t bring my son back, I would feel that justice was served,” she said, adding that she was working with authorities to establish a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her son’s killer.
Mendoza-Jaime described her son as outgoing and joyful.
“Robert was loved by everybody,” she said. “He loved everybody. He was a joker.”
“He loved his friends unconditionally,” Mendoza-Jaime said. “I’m his mother, but he taught me a lot.”
The mother described Calderon, who often quoted scripture, as the spiritual center of the family.
Raised in the Altadena and Pasadena areas, Calderon attended St. Elizabeth Parish School in Altadena, then St. Francis High School in La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena High School before ultimately obtaining his diploma from Pasadena City College, his mother said.
In the months before his death, he completed a certificate program in electronic circuits at PCC. His family was presented with his certificate as his funeral, where more than 1,000 people attended.
“He was going to be an electrical lineman or apprentice,” Mendoza-Jaime said. He was hoping to follow in the footsteps of his stepfather, Victor M. Jaime, a lineman who has raised Calderon since age 2.
Calderon is also survived by his biological father, Ramiro M. Calderon.
Calderon was a big fan of the Boston Celtics, the Red Sox and New England Patriots and enjoyed Thursday night football with friends at the Altadena home he shared with his mother and stepfather, Mendoza-Jaime said. He had recently taken to fishing.
“He loved dancing, and kind of music,” she said. Calderon also loved amusement parks, the Star Wars series, video games and his beloved girlfriend of eight years and “soul mate” Akeya Harmon.
Mendoza-Jaime said her son had just dropped her off at a Christmas party in the hours leading up to the shooting.
Though he wasn’t in a gang, the mother said her son had some troubled friends.
She first heard of a shooting on Mentor Avenue that night. She tried calling her son’s phone at 10:43 p.m., but received no answer.
“In my heart I knew it was Robert on Mentor (Avenue), but in my mind, I didn’t want to face it,” she said. When the phone rang early the next morning, and the coroner’s office appeared on the caller ID screen, she said her worst fear was confirmed.
Police have released little information about the shooting.
Officers responded to reports of gunfire when they discovered Calderon lying wounded in a grass parkway along the sidewalk, accordin to Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
No suspect description was available, nor were further details regarding he circumstances of the fatal shooting.
The day after the slaying shooting, a woman was wounded in another shooting at a gathering of friends memorializing Calderon in the 100 block of West Claremont Street, police said. That shooting also remains unsolved.
A lack of witness cooperation in the shooting, as well as others that followed, has challenged investigators, police said.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
PHOTOS: [TOP] Robert Arthur Calderon, 27, of Altadena, was fatally shot in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena on Dec. 18, 2015. (Courtesy) [CENTER] Robert Calderon, 27, of Altadena, (center), receives kisses from girlfriend Akeya Harmon, left, and mother Sarah Mendoza-Jaime. Calderon was fatally shot in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena on Dec. 18, 2015. (Courtesy) [BELOW] Robert Calderon, 27, of Altadena, (left), pictured with girlfriend Akeya Harmon, mother Sarah Mendoza-Jaime and step-father Victor M. Jaime. Calderon was fatally shot in the 600 block of North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena on Dec. 18, 2015. (Courtesy)