The family of a Bakersfield man who lost his life in a parking lot shooting over the weekend is trying to cope with their sudden loss.
Family members say Brandon Smith was not involved in gangs. He was caught in the crossfire of a fight.
Smith's family says the father of three was hanging out in a parking lot with hundreds of others, celebrating a new job... a job he was supposed to start Tuesday. Family members say they were told a gang-related fight broke out and Brandon took a bullet to the head, that wasn't meant for him.
"He was at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Brandon's grandmother, Inez Black.
It was Sunday morning around 3 a.m. when, police say, a crowd of 200 to 300 people gathered in a parking lot outside a Hookah lounge on Panama Lane.
"He was innocent. He was just standing by. Anyone could have caught that bullet. He caught a bullet that was meant for somebody else," said Black.
The loss has devastated his family.
"We are just living day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. It's awful," said Black.
Brandon's fiance and mother of one of his children, said he rarely went out. She says she still doesn't believe he's gone.
"I have to play this situation in my head all day to believe that he's gone," said a tearful Angel Haynes, Brandon's fiance. "I can't wake up to him. I can't watch him watch his kids grow up. I can never tell him I love him again."
Although police say the shooting was gang-related, his family says Smith was never involved in gang activity.
"Just because he was a black, young man, he was not a gang banger. And, that's the main thing that I want to get across he was not a gang banger."
But, according to criminal records, when he was 19, Brandon Smith was arrested once for participation in a street gang. However, those charges were dismissed.
His family hopes he is remembered, not for that arrest or how he died, but as a father whose life was cut short.
"We're devastated. My baby is gone. I raised him with his mom. He was just like my child, and now my baby is gone at 24 years old. His life cut short, snapped out," said Black.
There have been no arrests in this case, but police continue to investigate.