'God needed him more than we did:' Family mourns son killed in Lake Mary

Daniel Strada killed by stray bullet at Colonial Town Park Plaza

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

LAKE MARY, Fla. - The family of an innocent bystander killed during a shootout outside a Lake Mary restaurant described Daniel Strada as a young man who loved to help others and rarely had a bad day.

Strada, 28, died after being struck in the eye by a stray bullet from more than 100 yards away during a weekend shootout at the Colonial Town Park Plaza in Lake Mary. 

Strada's father, joined by three other family members, said they addressed the media Thursday to honor their son.

"He was out watching a soccer game, as innocent as can be," Strada's father said.

Deputies said Victor Emanuel Brown, 35, of Orlando, was also killed during the 2:06 a.m. Sunday shooting. Authorities with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office identified the shooter as Jorge Vega-Rosado, 26, of Orange City, and said he was acting in self-defense when he killed Brown.

Deputies said Brown first pulled a gun on Vega-Rosado and fired a shot, missing Vega-Rosado and hitting Strada.

"(Daniel) was a 28-year-old, absolutely big-smile, loving, young man," his father said. "He'll be missed by us tremendously."

He said several times that his son was a "fantastic kid" with a "big smile."

"We got the phone call you regret getting as a parent," he said.

In describing his son, he said that the family could not remember the last time they saw Daniel have a bad day or was visibly angry or upset.

"He was an innocent young may that for some reason, we don't know why, that was it," his father said. "God needed him more than we did. Every time our door opens up, we think it's Daniel, with his big smile, saying, 'What's up, guys?'"

His family said they will miss his big hugs.

"We're a very close family," Strada's father said.

He thanked the community for their support and said he's been encouraged by how many of Daniel's friends have reached out to them.

"They said, 'You don't know how your son impacted me,'" Strada's fatehr said. "It reassures my family what a great kid he really was."

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