SOUTH OGDEN — Kevin Nelson is gone, but those who knew him say his legacy will live on.

Nelson, 61, was killed Friday, Dec. 9, in South Ogden — one of two victims in a double homicide that occurred at a home at 3636 Ogden Ave. Nelson was a neighbor; he lived at 3630 Ogden Ave. Officers responded to a call at 7:58 p.m. Friday and found Nelson and Cyle VanKomen, 24, dead in the home. 

A third man, who lived at the home with VanKomen, was seriously injured and taken to the hospital, but has not been identified by police. South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke said Tuesday the shooting doesn’t appear to be random, but only one person may have been the intended target.

Police released surveillance footage of three suspects wearing plastic masks near the home, just prior to the murders.

• RELATED:  Video footage reveals three suspects in South Ogden double homicide

Ralph Nelson Jr., Nelson’s nephew, said his family is still in shock.

“We’re definitely in mourning, but we’re also just completely shocked,” he said. “I’ve never really seen anything like it. It’s heartbreaking something like this happened in our hometown, the place Kevin loved and called home.”

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Tiffany Brower and other family members and friends gather to pay tribute to Kevin Nelson and Cyle Vankomen during a candlelight vigil at the city hall and park in South Ogden Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Vankomen, 24, and Nelson, 61, were killed in a double homicide at 3636 Ogden Ave., according to South Ogden Police Sgt. Wil DeHart. (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

Nelson was born and raised in Weber County, where he lived for all 61 years of his life. He attended South Ogden Junior High and Bonneville High School.

Ralph Nelson Jr. said his uncle had a passion for electronics and opened his own business, Automotive Electronics Specialist, in 1984. The shop was located at 28th Street and Washington Boulevard.

“A lot of people knew him from his shop,” he said. “He really connected with the community there.”

Kathy Backer, a longtime friend of Nelson’s, met him at the AES business. She described him as friendly and honest — and an excellent electrician. 

“When I bought my home in 1997, I hired him to make electrical repairs,” she said. “He never tried to sell me something I didn't need or fix something that wasn't broken. He was someone I could totally trust.

“He was forced to retire due to health issues, and his business closed because of this,” she said. “I didn't see much of him after that, but when I did, he always had a warm smile and hug for any of his old friends (and) customers. He will certainly be missed by those who knew him.”

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Mourners gather to pay tribute to Kevin Nelson and Cyle Vankomen during a candlelight vigil at the city hall and park in South Ogden Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Vankomen, 24, and Nelson, 61, were killed in a double homicide at 3636 Ogden Ave., according to South Ogden Police Sgt. Wil DeHart. (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

Affectionately called “Mushy” by friends and family, Nelson loved to play the guitar and collect music. He was an avid fan of the Denver Broncos. He worked on a paper route when he was a boy, and most of the money he earned went to helping his family — “but he’d occasionally buy himself a chocolate milk,” Ralph Nelson Jr. said.

Mabel, Sam and Cyrus Martinez lived near Nelson. The trio said Nelson was at their home Friday night, apparently leaving their house minutes before his death.

• RELATED: Questions remain after South Ogden shooting kills 2 men in ‘apparent homicide’

“We still can’t believe it,” said Sam Martinez, who went to junior high and high school with Kevin. “He was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, honestly. I think that’s how he’ll be remembered.”

Cyrus Martinez said VanKomen and the other male victim who lived in the home often called Nelson “Gramps” or “Grandpa Nelson.”

• RELATED: South Ogden: Homicide victim remembered as loyal, fun-loving family man

“They would mess with him like that,” he said. “Then Kevin would say, ‘I’m not that old, damn it,’ and they’d all laugh. He was friendly with those guys, just like he was with everybody else in the neighborhood.”

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Debbie Zito has her candle lit by Ralph Nelson Sr. as they gather to pay tribute to Kevin Nelson and Cyle Vankomen during a candlelight vigil at the city hall and park in South Ogden Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Vankomen, 24, and Nelson, 61, were killed in a double homicide at 3636 Ogden Ave., according to South Ogden Police Sgt. Wil DeHart. (BRIAN NICHOLSON/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

The Martinez family said Nelson was known to pass out food in the neighborhood.

“He was one of the most kind, gentle men I have ever met,” said friend Debbie Workman. “He was easygoing and funny, the peacemaker. The world is a little less bright with the loss of our friend.”

Funeral services will be announced later this week.

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mshaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at facebook.com/mitchshaw.standardexaminer.

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