Twitter was full of confused people trying to figure out who this tribute car was honoring. Special thanks to my friend and @methodshop reader Ilena Ayala for doing some research and finding out what this car is really all about. It’s a memorial for the popular New York-based junior middleweight Ronnie Vargas. The touching Ronnie Vargas Tribute was artfully painted on the hood of this car.
Remembering Ronnie Vargas
Popular New York-based junior middleweight Ronnie Vargas (8-0, 6 KO’s) was shot dead early Saturday morning, August 16, a short distance from his home in the South Bronx.
Vargas, an immigrant from Venezuela and a three-time New York Golden Gloves champion, became involved in a dispute with still-unknown assailants outside, “4 Boys Deli,” on Hughes Avenue, at just before 3:30 a.m.
In a building surveillance video, Vargas’ red “98” Honda Civic was seen speeding after a white sedan, followed by his cousin Johnny Pabon in a black Honda Accord.
It’s believed the assailant stopped his vehicle at the corner of Clinton Avenue, outside the same deli, with his cousin’s car behind him, accidentally trapping Vargas before he was beaten and shot.
The video then shows the Pabon backing up his vehicle and slamming into three parked cars, followed by Vargas’ car, which also backed up, striking the fourth car. The incident began moments earlier in the same deli, which can be seen in the top right-hand corner of the video.
Sources say a second video camera inside the store may have actually captured detailed images of the killer and his cohorts.
NYPD officials say Vargas was shot once in the torso and was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he died upon arrival.
Meanwhile, dozens of friends and fans paid their respects by erecting a memorial near the fighter’s E. 152nd Street home in the Mott Haven section of the borough.
According to Jonathan Pabon, another cousin of Vargas’, Pat Lynch, the 20-year-old fighter’s manager, had told his young prospect to move from the drug- and crime-infested area.
Pabon recalled, “He (Lynch) told him, ‘You’re making money, move out of the neighborhood,’ but he said the neighborhood was his family.”
Unconfirmed reports state Vargas was going to fight for a lesser-known title in February.
Vargas leaves behind his father Herman and three brothers.
Bronx homicide detectives are believed to be looking for two males and two females in connection with the crime. The gunman is believed to have fled in a white sedan.
Asked how the young fighter’s grieving dad was doing, Jonathan Pabon replied, “The father’s hurting, he’s emotional right now,” explaining that the father has taken down a wall of photographs and medals the fighter had won in his short career.
Pabon added, “It’s very hard.”
Unconfirmed reports stated detectives were questioning several individuals from the initial dispute in their search for Vargas’ killer.
A funeral service for Vargas is expected to be held on Friday, a short distance from the family’s home.
Rest in peace Ronnie.