Sebastian Valencia was co-owner of Brick L.A., a sneaker store in Downtown Downey. A graduate of Warren High School, he died Saturday morning in a solo-vehicle traffic collision. (Top photo by Sarah Aguilar)
DOWNEY – Friends and family are mourning the death of Downey resident Sebastian Valencia, an entrepreneur and co-owner of the Brick Los Angeles sneaker store. He was 23.
Valencia was killed in a solo car crash around midnight Saturday morning just outside Riverview Park in Bellflower.
According to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, a toxicology report has been ordered, however results are not expected for several months.
Valencia was a Downey resident and Warren High School alumni. He was attending Cal State Long Beach, pursuing Computer Science.
Valencia’s loved ones remember his dedication and work ethic, and care and compassion for others.
“I really see him like a jewel, like a diamond; made from something of little value in the beginning of our creation, and then through the pressures of wanting to become something, to help people, and in this environment, and his drive, and his nature that is him, he became like a diamond,” said his father, Rick Valencia.
“Looking at him, he was hard because he was beautiful and strong, and he knew what he wanted, and he knew what he was going to do…and then, he was in the process of becoming polished, and he was trying to take everybody with him. Everything around him was starting to look really pretty, because he was getting polished and he was working on himself every day.”
Since his passing, both Valencia’s family and the Brick Los Angeles team have been on the receiving end of a wealth of support.
Mother Sandra Valencia described it as “beautiful and overwhelming, but not surprising.”
“He had a heart of gold. He loved so much, and cared for everybody, those around him,” she said. “He always had a big smile, always a happy baby, since he was little.”
“I’m not surprised, but the numbers, yeah, how many people he inspired, it’s amazing. He always made us proud; he was so compassionate, hardworking, loving; he was even hard with us, because he wanted to push us to do more.”
Valencia co-owned Brick Los Angeles – which just celebrated its one-year anniversary – alongside partner Tony Ramirez.
Since the crash, Brick has remained closed. While it will reopen eventually, Ramirez – who describes Valencia as a “role model” and “more like a brother than a best friend” – isn’t quite ready.
“I just tried to give everybody the time just to get back to feeling right and feeling capable,” said Ramirez. “Just carrying on and being able to manage themselves, because I know at the moment I can’t.”
Ramirez plans to continue to pursue the expansion that he and Valencia had envisioned. If anything, Valencia’s memory has motivated Ramirez to push Brick bigger and harder.
“That’s what Sebass would want,” said Ramirez. “His love for shoes, and his love for this and what we built, he took pride in it,” said Ramirez. “This is something that we both take pride in, and I know he was thrilled to see how far we came and how big we’ve grown.”
Ramirez is thankful for the support from the community.
“I do want to say thank you to everybody for the outpouring of love and support, not just now, but when we were first starting to where we are now,” said Ramirez. “Sebass would always try to look at the better things in everything, and I feel like we do too.”
“With that being said, we have to try to be thankful for being able to experience a guy like him, connect with a guy like him, and bond with a guy like him, the way we did, because not everyone is going to be as lucky to know him the same way, or get to deal with him the same way.”
A candlelight vigil was held Saturday evening at the crash site. Services to be held at Rose Hills have not been announced.
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