Grass Valley man gunned down had turned his life around |

Grass Valley man gunned down had turned his life around

Shawn West had turned his life around since the birth of his daughter nearly two years ago.

But the Grass Valley man’s fresh start was cut short when a man gunned him down outside a Sacramento fast-food restaurant, his girlfriend said Friday.

“I just want people to know Shawn,” Brandi DeGennaro said. “He was a genuine person, if you took the time to get to know him …

“In the last two years, he really became a man. He finally started dreaming, he finally started having desires for himself. He was doing everything right,” DeGennaro said. “This was not his time.”

West, 26, died Tuesday night in the parking lot of a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant near Stockton Boulevard and Elsie Avenue, in south Sacramento.

DeGennaro said they had driven down to Sacramento with their 21-month-old daughter, Mikayla Marie, to pick up his brother. DeGennaro had gone inside the home of West’s grandmother to visit and didn’t know he had left, she said.

“We weren’t even there for half an hour,” DeGennaro said.

West was with his brother and a male friend, standing near their car and talking, according to Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran. A dark sedan drove through the parking lot, stopped, and someone inside the vehicle fired multiple shots from a handgun.

Then they drove away as West lay dying of a gunshot wound to the chest.

“We got a call saying Shawn had been shot,” DeGennaro said. “I ran to Jack-in-the-Box and there he is, laying in the middle of the road.”

Two men were arrested Friday in connection with the shooting.

Cort Parnell Milgrim, 21, is accused of murder, robbery, endangering the life of a child and being an accessory after the fact. Joel Satchell, 19, is accused of murder, robbery and being an accessory after the fact.

Curran would not release any other details, including information about a possible motive or whether West and the two suspects were connected.

West had been in and out of trouble as a youth, DeGennaro said, but changed after Mikayla was born.

“A lot of people labeled him,” she said. “He had it really tough growing up … He really raised himself.

He never had a father figure. He hadn’t talked to his dad in 12 years.”

The couple had dated for five years, but when DeGennaro became pregnant, she said, “everything changed. He was the most amazing father. He taught himself how to be a man …

“He started working six days a week to provide for his family. He never did drugs, he never wanted to go out. He just wanted to be with the baby.”

Brandi DeGennaro has organized a memorial for murdered Grass Valley resident Shawn West; it starts at noon this Sunday at the Nevada City Veterans Memorial Building, at North Pine Street at the corner of Chapel. T-shirts will be sold at the memorial as a fundraiser, and a Shawn West Family trust fund account has been opened at Citizens Bank.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call (530) 477-4229.

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