Framework

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A memorial to his parents, killed by a drug cartel in Mexico, is tattooed on the chest of Adali Gutierrez. He was also shot; the scar near the final A in "Maria" is from gunfire.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Yasmin Gutierrez, 17, left, looks at messages on her cellphone, while sister Roxanna, 5, and brothers Adrian, 15, and Adali, 20, right, watch television in their two-bedroom El Monte apartment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Dinner is a family affair, with Guillermo Gutierrez, 18, sister Yasmin, 17, and brother Adrian, 15, from left, working together in the kitchen.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Yasmin Gutierrez brushes the hair of her sister Roxanna. Yasmin bathes her sister every night, brushes her hair and puts her to bed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Adali Gutierrez scoots his sister Roxanna in while sitting down for dinner with brothers Guillermo, center, and Adrian.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Adali Gutierrez and sister Yasmin, from left, wait to buy groceries at a small market.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Adali Gutierrez smiles at the group of people he supervises for the El Monte Police Department's community cleanup division. He drives them to areas of town where they pick up garbage or pull weeds.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Adali Gutierrez helps one of the people he supervises for the El Monte police.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A tired Adali Gutierrez rests his head in the family apartment while taking a lunch break from work.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

A small shrine to them in their children's apartment includes a portrait of Maria and Guillermo Gutierrez Sr.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Yasmine Gutierrez yawns before going to sleep as her brother Adrian does his homework in the bedroom they share with their sister Roxanna.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

After his sisters go to bed in the room the three share, Adrian Gutierrez moves to the kitchen to continue his homework.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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Taking on a leading role

A drug cartel attack in Mexico cost Adali Gutierrez, 20, of El Monte his parents and left him with a disfigured face and the responsibility of being patriarch to his four younger siblings.

It was at the end of January 2010 when he was visiting Lazaro Cardenas, a small port city in the Mexican state of Michoacan, to celebrate his 19th birthday with his parents and four siblings. Adali remembers a staccato of gunfire and an occasional blast from a hand grenade but not the bullet that pierced his right lung. He can’t recall what it felt like when metal ripped through his chest or punctured his face.

Read Corina Knoll’s article: Tragedy thrusts young man into demanding new role

6 Comments

  1. November 4, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Adali, my heart goes out to you and your family, I know it must be hard raising your brothers and sisters, Your are a true blessing to your family.

    May god bless you and your family always.

    By: renapoo75.gmail.com
  2. November 6, 2011, 1:00 am

    Wow, great strength this family has. This is what family is all about. You will get through this. Much respect.

    By: Diana
  3. November 7, 2011, 8:18 pm

    u dont knw what u got til its gone… i applaud u for not leaving ur brothers and sisters to fend for themselves and/or becoming a drunk/drug addict. keep the faith adali, ur rewards r in heaven, waiting for u with ur mother and father.

    By: niomi
  4. November 8, 2011, 10:14 am

    My heart goes out to you and your Family, May GOD bless you and proetect you.

    By: mina
  5. November 8, 2011, 10:17 am

    May God Bless you and protect you, sisters and brothers.

    By: minajosie@gmail.comm
  6. March 7, 2012, 5:32 pm

    God bless you, it must be hard for you raising your brothers and sisters, you are in my prayers.

    By: patty

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