PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been nearly two years since 23-year-old Andrei Bonilla was shot and killed in Providence.
In August 2021, Bonilla — a man who preached and promoted nonviolence — was shot three times while sitting in his car.
Bonilla’s family was presented with an award at a ceremony in Memorial Park Wednesday to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The award posthumously honored Bonilla’s dedication to promoting nonviolence and unity throughout the capital city.
“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Andrei’s father Endhir Bonilla said, who teared up while accepting the reward for his late son. “I wish he could’ve been here to see this.”
“I wish this was all a nightmare, and then one day I will wake up and he’ll be right next to me saying, ‘Dad everything is OK … nothing happened, it was just a bad dream,'” he continued.
Andrei was well-known for his clothing line Rise Above Hate, which promoted peace and unity. His overall goal for the brand was to bond and unite people regardless of their differences.
Endhir believes that, even though his son is gone, his legacy will live on.
“I hope he’s up there and is watching us now with a big smile on his face saying, ‘I did it dad,'” he said.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, now in its 42nd year, emphasizes the importance of listening to survivor voices and uplifting victims to affect change.
“It is important to remember that there is at least one victim behind every crime; a victim that deserves to be heard,” Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said. “Victims and survivors provide us with invaluable insight into the lasting effects of crime, while simultaneously demonstrating admirable perseverance and strength.”
The man who killed Andrei, 23-year-old Andrew Mangru, was convicted of second-degree murder last December.
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