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Benefit For Grand Forks Murder Victim's Family

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It's been a day of healing and help for one northern valley family. Hundreds gathered for a benefit to help support family of murder victim Jose Lopez. He was killed in his Grand Forks apartment on June 24th during a burglary. Family says he died protecting his fiancée and daughter.

There's no game today at a court empty of players, but its filled with plenty of hoop memories.

Brandon Ness says, “Basketball. It will constantly be basketball. Whether we were younger playing at the park and his shots, his trick shots, everything.”

That’s just one of many memories of Jose Lopez, or Joe, as his friends called him. Childhood friend Brandon Ness was joined by hundreds at today's benefit.

Ness says, “it's just so heartwarming. all the help that we're getting. all the people that are saying let me help.

Over 200 were served, and more than $2,400 hundred were raised by a community coming together to help the family of Joe Lopez.

Travis Fladeland says, “You don't know what you have until something happens. And you just get to see how much people do care. Especially in a small town you know. It's America's best kept secret. Small towns.”

Even at the event, the memory and legacy of Joe lives on.

Ness says, “Big into family and friends. Loved his family to death. Loved his friends.”

Fladeland says, “No matter what he had going. He'd always make time to help you and give you the shirt off your back if you needed it. Even as we were little kids. You got to clean up your bedroom before you could go play. He'd come over and help you clean so you could get outside a little sooner.”

He was a man who cared so much for others now gone. A community coming together to support Joe's family, showing that his love, his life will never be forgotten.

Fladeland says, “You're going to be missed buddy.

Ness says, “Forever, forever, like I said, even when you step on the court. There's going to be something It's just always going to remind you of Joe, all the time. “

There's also a memorial fund set up at Koda Bank in Minto.

Amy Unrau

Amy is proud to be a Red River Valley native and cover stories that matter to her community. She was raised in Hallock, Minnesota and received her degree at the University of North Dakota where she participated in the student run TV show Studio One. In college, Amy met her husband, WDAY’s Jody Norstedt, while interning at WDAZ in Grand Forks. She started at WDAY in April 2014 and is currently WDAY'Z Xtra News at Nine's anchor and producer. Have a news idea? Amy would love to share your story or investigate an issue you’re concerned about.

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