Joseph Long, photo courtesy David Livingston
SACRAMENTO, CA - Those who knew 32-year-old Joseph Long say it was just his nature to walk some female dance students to their car. He was a true gentleman, according to friends.
Late Friday night, Long wrapped up teaching his class at 28th and L streets in midtown Sacramento. While standing near his car, he was caught in the crossfire of two groups firing shots across the parking lot.
Now a memorial sits not far from the place where Long was shot. Friends wrote notes and left a fedora and a t-shirt -- Long's attire wherever he danced.
"The hardest part probably is the guilt that I feel. If I just had gotten there 10 minutes early, uh, he'd probably still be here," said Gwynessa Balvanz, Long's girlfriend. Balvanz had gone to pick up Long. When she arrived, she learned he had been rushed to the hospital.
The close-knit swing dance community is planning a special dance for Long Wednesday night. Bailey Cox says he was such a smart person who lived his life to the fullest. She was a dance student.
"You can be the strongest and the healthiest individual and you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Cox.
Police were asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact them. No arrests have been made in the case.