17-year-old remembered for dedication to public service
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Brandon Dominguez, as friends called him, was a student, a son and an explorer who wanted to become a firefighter.
He was part of the explorer program with the Manchaca Volunteer Fire Department which teaches teens the ropes before being eligible to fully fight fires.
We spoke with some who say Brandon had turned his life around and died doing what he was taught to do - protect the public.
Lt. Eddie Dominguez shared the same last name and the same love for fighting fires as Brandon.
“He reminded me of me when I was that age," he said.
Lt. Dominguez took Brandon under his wing when he first joined the firefighter explorer program at age 15.
The explorer program is for teens who want to one day put on the full uniform.
"The first thing we try to teach at any fire department is how to be a good rookie. Brandon was a good rookie. He would have made the best rookie," Lt. Dominguez said.
Brandon's life was cut short early Sunday morning. He was shot and killed early in his South Austin neighborhood searching for someone he thought was trying to break into a car.
It’s an action Lt. Dominguez says Brandon probably learned a little too quickly.
"Brandon died being a servant to the public, and that's what we do. We are servants to the public," Dominguez said.
Casandra Benavides was a close friend and classmate of Brandon's at Akin’s High School.
"He would always tell me he's going to be a good firefighter, and I want to save people," Benavides said.
Word spread quickly of his death. School counselors were on hand Monday for those needing to talk, and students wore red ribbons to honor him.
"I had a lot of classes with him. And we'd always sit together and stuff and it's real different not hearing him laugh and talk in class," Benavides said.
It was a life cut short for a teen some say was on the path for a bright future. Brandon would have turned 18 the end of January and would have been eligible to attend the fire academy.
While he wasn't a full firefighter yet, departments are coming together to give him a proper funeral with full honors.
A viewing is expected for Brandon Friday at Harold Funeral Home. His funeral is set to follow on Saturday.
The Manchaca Fire Department setup a memorial account for Brandon Dominguez at Velocity Credit Union (Account #801122).