A Heritage High School student, who teachers and administrators say was a kind, pleasant young man, was gunned down last week in his native Honduras.
Jimmy Gerardo Portillo Oliva, 18, had finished his sophomore year at Heritage before returning to Honduras to complete visa requirements so he could stay in the United States.
According to news reports obtained from the Honduran publication, La Prensa, and translated via Google, on Sept. 24, Oliva and five friends were returning from buying food in Choloma when he was gunned down by four masked men. None of the assailants have been apprehended.
Five of the victims, including Oliva’s cousin, William Alexander Oliva Cortez, 16, died at the scene; one died in a hospital.
Days later, Oliva’s mother and stepfather, who lived with him in Leesburg, arrived in Honduras for their son’s funeral.
“This is just an awful, very sad incident,” said Heritage principal Margaret Huckaby.
“Jimmy was a great kid. He was a good student and he played on our JV soccer team last year. He was an all-around great young man.”
Huckaby said that Oliva had been legally living in the United States for several years, but the first summer after he turned 18, he was required to return to Honduras to obtain his own visa. He was there for two months and was due to return soon.
“He was following the rules. He was doing things the way they are supposed to be done,” Huckaby said.
According to La Prensa, Honduran police said it was likely that the four gunmen were targeting the survivor of a massacre four months ago in which nine boys were killed.
That survivor, police said, was not one of the victims killed alongside Oliva.
Choloma, the reports said, is a place of extreme violence, which recently has attracted organized crime.
“We at Heritage never had any sense whatsoever, that Jimmy was part of any gang,” Huckaby said. “He was a great kid, a good member of our community. He really was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Honduran police said they have no leads on the crime, but for now, teachers and students at Heritage are doing their part to help Oliva’s family by donating monetary contributions to Oliva’s mother and stepfather.
“We’re here to do what we can,” Huckaby said. “If we can help in any way, then we surely will.”
Note: Spanish to English translations done by Google are not 100 percent accurate. While Google states that no facts are changed, the English version may contain grammatical errors.
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