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California groom killed by wedding crashers

NBC News logo NBC News 12/17/2019 Ben Kesslen
a person posing for the camera: Image: A father was brutally murdered on his wedding day and his family says it happened during the reception as he tried to protect his guests. © KNBC Image: A father was brutally murdered on his wedding day and his family says it happened during the reception as he tried to protect his guests.

A California groom was murdered by two wedding crashers, according to police and the family.

Joe Melgoza, 30, died Sunday morning, the day after his wedding, from blunt head trauma in Chino, California, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles.

Chino police discovered Melgoza after being called to a home regarding a fight at around 2:20 a.m. Sunday morning.

The family told NBC Los Angeles that two men came uninvited to the wedding reception that began Saturday evening and extended into Sunday morning in the backyard of the bride's sister's home. The men were asked to leave.

"Those cowards came back with bats," Andy Velasquez, Melgoza's brother, told NBC Los Angeles. Velasquez said his brother was trying to protect his family from the uninvited men, whom police later identified as Rony Aristides Castaneda Ramirez, 28, and his brother, Josue Daniel Castaneda Ramirez, 19.

"They came and they murdered my brother," Velasquez said. "My brother did no wrong; they took him from us."

Melgoza was found in the backyard of a nearby home, and was taken to a nearby hospital where he died, police said. He has an 11-year-old daughter, of whom he had sole custody, the family told NBC Los Angeles.

Chino police said they arrested the Ramirez brothers Sunday afternoon "without incident." Police did not specify whether the brothers have been charged or what charges they may be facing.

"My brother did not deserve to die like that," Velasquez said. "He was a good man; he was a solid man."

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