Life was never easy for Ronald "Ronnie" Gomez Mires, an 18-year-old who grew up in a Mountain View foster home. But he was surrounded by loved ones who were always trying to help him improve his life.
Today, those same loved ones are mourning the young man's sudden and tragic death, after Gomez Mires was shot and killed earlier this month at a graduation party in San Jose.
"Ronnie had a really tough life," said Janet Mires, who along with her husband became his legal guardian when he was 9. "We got him when he was 5 years old. His grandma was raising him."
The boy had a rough background, Mires said, but "Once we made the decision, he was definitely our son."
For much of his youth since he was 5, Gomez Mires led a relatively normal childhood. He played for the Mountain View Marauders football team and the Mountain View High School football team, and attended Springer Elementary School, Blach Middle School and Mountain View High.
But despite the good moments, and the love provided by his foster family, the boy's troubled early years never stopped haunting him.
"He had this loyalty to the gang life," Mires said. Even as a little 5-year-old boy, she said, he would talk about being a part of the "red team" or the "blue team."
Trouble began for him in earnest during middle school, when he started stealing and fighting. Police were often visiting the Mires home. In high school the problems got worse, causing him to be expelled from seven different schools.
When the boy turned 16, Mires said, she and her husband were forced to give up guardianship of him in order for the county to cover the costs of sending him to a school for troubled youths. But the county never followed through, Mires said, and instead Gomez Mires ended up in various group homes and kept getting into trouble. He began running with a rough crowd, and spent six months in Juvenile Hall.
"For us it was like a death," Mires said. "His first week in the children's shelter, he left the shelter, mugged a girl and took her purse."
Eventually he had a real wake-up call when he survived a gunshot wound, after which he wanted to return to Mountain View. Mires said she tried to get him to follow certain rules and to attend therapy while he was back home, but he refused.
In February of this year, Gomez-Mires was able move in with his biological mother and was reunited once more with his biological family, "which he needed to do," Mires said.
In the early morning of June 14, Gomez Mires was at a graduation party in East San Jose when he got into a fight with another young man over a woman he had met at the party. Two people were reportedly shot during the fight, including Gomez Mires. Authorities said he was able to get to a local hospital, where he died from his wounds.
Gomez Mires is survived by his brothers Mitchell and Francisco Mires, his sister Daniella Mires, his biological family in San Jose and siblings who live with adopted parents in Eugene, Ore. Memorial services will be announced at a later date.
To view or sign an online guest book for Gomez Mires, click here.