David de la Llata can't help but smile when talking about his good friend -- slain U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata.
"He was just a blast to hang out with," de la Llata said.
On Tuesday, while on a trip from Monterrey to Mexico City, Zapata and fellow ICE agent, Victor Avila, were reportedly gunned down by drug cartel hit men in the State of San Luis Potos.
Avila was hit twice in the leg but survived, however, Zapata wasn TMt so lucky.
"It was just complete disbelief and I know it's selfish to say but for a while you think, maybe it was the other ice agent," de la Llata said.
De la Llata was Zapata TMs Homer Hanna High School classmate, carpooling buddy plus hunting and fishing partner. He is finding the loss hard to cope with.
"I had been holding back so many emotions when I got home last night, de la Llata said. I saw my parents, took out an old photo album of Jaime and I when were in medical school and I broke down into tears. I was just happy that to have my parents around."
De la Llata is grieving like many who loved and knew Zapata.
He said he is proud of his friends accomplishments and service to his county and he said he'll remember him as the as the guy with the irresistible smile.
"He was just an incredible guy, everyone loved him there at the medical school, de la Llata said. The students, the faculty, even the secretaries - the secretaries were in love with Jaime - all it took was a smile for people to like this guy. I have nothing but absolutely wonderful things to say about Jaime Zapata."
Although his friend's life ended tragically, de la Llata said, the U.S. should continue to be allies with Mexico in the war against drug cartels and border violence.
"I think it's something the Mexican government should take care of, de la Llata said. If they ask for the U.S. government TMs help then the us should help."
De la Llata doesn't know how he'll cope with the pain of losing a dear friend, but there is something he is sure of.
Jaime was a great friend, he was a patriot, he loved his country, he was a very humble person and we're all going to miss him," de la Llata said.