Saturday, Dec. 28 vigil in La Jolla Shores to honor memory of Mission Valley Mall shooting victim

By Pat Sherman

A candlelight vigil will be held in La Jolla Shores this weekend, in memory of 22-year-old Ilona Gregorievna (also known as Ilona Flint), who was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) at Westfield Mission Valley Mall.

The vigil will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, at La Jolla Shores beach, near lifeguard tower 32.

Gregorievna was found in a car parked near Macy’s department store at around 1:30 a.m., with 22-year-old Salvatore Belvedere, who was also shot. Belvedere was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital with a gunshot wound to the upper torso. He died on Friday, Dec. 27, from his injuries.

Police are searching for Ilona Gregorievna’s fiancee, Gianni Belvedere, who was last seen Monday, Dec. 23, at 10 p.m. at his Tierrasanta home, according to San Diego Police.

The vigil was organized by Gregorievna’s friend and former La Jolla employer, Andre Rene Briones.

Gregorievna was employed for about 10 months at Briones’ former La Jolla clothing boutique, James Grant, at 7527 La Jolla Blvd.

Briones said Gregorievna responded to an advertisement he placed on Craigslist, and was his final applicant interview.

“I knew within seconds I was going to hire her,” Briones said, adding that she proved to be “the hardest working person I ever met.

“She was extremely focused and strong,” Briones said, adding that, though petite, Gregorievna displayed the same emotional and physical strength in his presence that he imagines it took her to call 911 in the final moments of her life.

Briones said Gregorievna was there for him during a difficult time in his life.

“I would go on and on, and every day she would have a new piece of sage wisdom for me,” he said, noting that the Tierrasanta resident loved La Jolla and often talked about moving here.

Anyone wishing to share remembrances of Gregorievna, or merely pay their respects, is welcome to attend.

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