About 20 people joined the 37-year-old’s family near Nevada Avenue and Fulton Street on Thursday evening for a vigil and a balloon release.
“The balloons were words sent to heaven for each of the victims, just to remember them and kind of give us some comfort that our words are reaching them,” said Ashleigh Wagner, Gassett’s cousin.
Gassett’s ex-wife Lisa Gassett said people wrote memories on the balloons, “rest in peace,” and their two sons, Troy and Layton Gassett, wrote “go Green Bay Packers.” Gassett would always wear a Green Bay Packers hat, she said.
“He was so loving. He would go out of his way to help anybody,” Lisa Gassett said. “He would be one of those people that would give his shirt off of his back if they needed it and help with food or anything. That’s just the person he is.”
Police say Gassett, 37, was walking home with a bag of groceries from Catholic Charities when he was shot by Kori Ali Muhammad, 39. Gassett was the second of three men killed within a few minutes Tuesday morning in the neighborhood north of downtown Fresno.
Police said the shootings were random, although Muhammad told investigators he specifically targeted white men.
“It was just a senseless act that didn’t need to happen,” Wagner said.
The balloons were words sent to heaven for each of the victims, just to remember them and kind of give us some comfort that our words are reaching them.
Gassett’s stepfather, Harold Wagner, said he will always remember the time they went deep-sea fishing together. It was one of his fondest memories of being with Gassett, he said.
“He (Gassett) kept saying that he was going to get sick, but I got sick. We’ve done a lot of fun things together,” Wagner said with a smile and laugh, adding that Gassett will be remembered as “a good, loving person and a good father to his kids.”
Brayden Perri, who attended the vigil to support Gassett’s ex-wife, said that although he did not know Gassett well, “The encounters that I had with him were great. He seemed like he was a well-suited man. He had a lot of respect.”
Family members created a GoFundMe account Wednesday to help with funeral expenses and so far have raised over $14,000. Wagner said the funeral date has not been set.
“I’m really thankful for all of the donations and everything,” Lisa Gassett said. “The whole community came together for us. We are so extremely grateful, and I couldn’t say thank you enough.”