NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A man who was shot to death in New Bedford over the weekend dedicated years of his life to helping military veterans, former Mayor Frederick Kalisz, Jr. said Monday.
According to police, 66-year-old Donald DePina was found unresponsive Saturday night in the parking lot of Brooklawn Park. He was later pronounced dead at St. Luke’s Hospital.
DePina, a Vietnam veteran, spent his life supporting fellow vets by taking charge of Veteran Affairs under Kalisz.
“It knocked me for a loop,” the former mayor said Monday. “He was a great guy.”
Kalisz said DePina personally helped countless veterans in the city since 1990.
“He was a tireless advocate,” he said. “He was grassroots. Working in Boston he was part of the bureaucracy, when he was in New Bedford he was on the streets. He was holding someone’s hand, he was discussing issues with people. He understood and knew the pains war brought back with them.”
Current Mayor Jon Mitchell called the murder a heinous act of violence. Kalisz said the loss will be felt by many.
“A tremendous loss to them, as it is to his individual family, as it is to the community itself,” said Kalisz.
So far, no arrests have been made. District Attorney Thomas Quinn III’s office is investigating and said they will not release any further details about the ongoing investigation.
Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for DePina’s funeral expenses.