Bobby Salcedo, an educator and school board member from El Monte, was murdered execution style on a 2009 Christmas time visit to his wife's hometown in Mexico. The killers were never caught. In commemoration of the civic leader, a segment of the 60 Freeway— stretching from Atlantic Boulevard to the city limit of Rosemead — will be designated as the Roberto "Bobby" Salcedo Memorial Highway.
"This is one of the very few state signs in California—on a freeway—[tied to] an open case of a horrible criminal act," Assemblyman Mike Eng said at an unveiling at his Alhambra office on Tuesday. "We must do all that we can until Bobby's murderers are caught and brought to justice.”
Salcedo, an assistant principal at El Monte High School, was a familiar face at charity events and worked with administrators to aid local students in their pursuit of higher education. To his colleagues he was an inspiration. "He served as a role model for all the people in the San Gabriel Valley—Latino, Asian, Anglo, everyone," Alhambra Councilman Luis Ayala said. "It was definitely a loss. It was very sobering."
Salcedo, 33 at the time of his death, is believed to be the first U.S. public official to fall victim to Mexico's drug wars. He was on a visit to Gomez Palacio, a city in the state of Durango, when after dinner on December 30, he and his wife went to a bar. In the early hours of the morning masked gunmen abducted him and five other men and shot them execution-style. Their bodies were found dumped in a canal. Investigators believe that Salcedo was victim to the random violence raging in Mexico, where since President Felipe Calderon declared war on drugs four years ago about 35,000 people have died, many of them innocent.
Eng said that private donations financed the production and installation of the two signs which will be installed Friday. Carlos Salcedo said that his brother Bobby, a dedicated civic leader, would not have had it any other way.
"We thought that Bobby wouldn't want something like that to come out of the state money's end," Carlos Salcedo said. "In his true spirit, he would have wanted it to come from the community."