MANILA – The family of lawyer John Albert "Jal" Laylo, a victim of a random shooting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania over the weekend, will donate his organs.
Althea Ann, Laylo’s sister, said in a tweet Monday that they find peace in the thought that “somewhere in the world, a piece of him is alive and breathing”.
"He will do anything in his power to help. So as one final mission, he will be donating his organs to those who need it," Althea Ann's tweet read.
Laylo’s mother, Leah, said in a social media post that her son passed away at 10:33 a.m. Sunday (US time) at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in West Philadelphia where they were both taken after the shooting incident along 38th and Spruce Streets in University City, Philadelphia.
They were onboard an Uber vehicle on their way to the airport to catch their flight to Chicago.
Leah said the incident happened at 4:06 a.m., with Laylo struck with a bullet to the head while she sustained wounds from the car's broken glass.
Based on initial police reports received by the Philippine Consulate in New York, the vehicle was shot at from behind by still unknown suspects, who then pulled over to the Uber driver’s side and fired more rounds before fleeing.
Laylo was first reported already dead by incoming Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, but his family later corrected that he was on life support.
The family found a semblance of hope when Laylo “squeezed my mom’s hand three times and started mildly breathing on his own”, according to a tweet by Althea Ann on Sunday night.
"I thank God for the 35 years of his life. I’m beyond grateful for having a good, smart, generous, loving, caring son. These are the adjectives I can think of now," she posted on Facebook.
Leah is thankful that she was with her son on his last days and made sure they had fun.
"We traveled together and we are supposed to go home together! I will bring him home soon in a box! My son has a lot of dreams a lot of plans, hopes and everything! He’s gone now. I can’t explain the pain the heaviness I have in my heart. It took me hours to post this because still I can’t believe this happened!" she added.
Althea Ann said she is uncertain how to go on each day without her brother.
"It’s debilitating, frightening, to say the least, but as his frequent reminder goes, I will be strong. If not for me, for my kuya (elder brother). To my kuya, you are the love of my life and no one can take that away from you," she said on Facebook.
In a statement, Elmer Cato, Consul General in New York, said the Philippine Consulate is coordinating with authorities and underscored the importance the Philippine government places on the case.
Cato himself went to Philadelphia but Laylo was declared dead an hour before he arrived with leaders of the Filipino community
He assured Leah that the DFA, Philippine Consulate General in New York, and Filipino communities will support them.
"We will assist in the repatriation of her son’s remains. We are in touch with police authorities and have reached out to others who may have any leads on the shooting," Cato said.
Outgoing Senator Leila De Lima, who was Laylo's former boss, condemned the incident.
"Walang puwang dapat ang ganitong karahasan sa mundo. Dapat mapanagot agad ang may sala at matigil na ang ganitong mga karumal-dumal na krimen (These violence should have no place in this world. The perpetrator should be immediately held liable and stop these heinous crimes)," De Lima tweeted.
Laylo worked for de Lima’s office and helped in drafting several bills, including Senate Bill 1433 or the Autism Care Act in 2017.
Laylo’s Facebook account indicated he was a graduate of Makati Science High School, University of the Philippines Diliman (Political Science), De La Salle University (Law), and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (International Business Law).
He passed the Bar in 2015.
On June 10, Forbes.com released a report that 22 mass shootings have taken place in the US this year.
A massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 was the deadliest so far with 19 children and two teachers killed.
It happened 10 days after 10 were shot and killed at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
In 2020, violent gun deaths spiked by 35 percent and homicide numbers, which are shootings in 80 percent of cases, remained just as high in 2021 as they have been in the previous year, according to the report.
Mass shootings of any kind also experienced a peak in 2021, with 77 recorded by Gun Violence Archive, Forbes wrote. (PNA)