"He loved them," said the Pomona mother of her son, Chris Cotinola. "He still owes me a 20-piece. "
But her 20-year-old son won't be able to settle that debt because Chris Cotinola was killed March 11 in a shooting outside his Gordon Street apartment.
During the Super Bowl this year, Chris Cotinola bet his mother the San Francisco 49ers would beat the Baltimore Ravens.
"He said, 'Well, we can't bet money so let's bet chicken McNuggets,'" she said. "The Ravens won and he hasn't paid me. "
Cotinola's killing rocked the close-knit Pomona Victory Outreach church where the 20-year-old's father, Christopher Cotinola, Sr., was a pastor.
"He was a good kid raised in the church with the right morals," said Art Gutierrez, 30, of Pomona at one of the many car washes held outside Lilly's Tacos on Garey Avenue near La Verne Drive. Gutierrez had been friends with Chris Cotinola for several years and was also his barber. "This is a shock to all of us. He was just a good kid. "
His was the third shooting death in the city since March 7, when a 24-year-old Los Angeles-area man, Kelly Jacinto-Burian, was gunned down as he walked with his son and other family members along Ninth Street east of Hamilton Boulevard.
No arrests have been made in any of the five recent shootings that left a total of four young men dead.
Sarah Cotinola, Chris Cotinola's younger sister, recalled a happy and always smiling older brother. The siblings had a very close relationship, she said.
"We were really close," the 19-year-old said. "We were so close that I really thought we were twins. That's what everyone called us, the twins, because we were always together. "
Sarah Cotinola recalled wondering why, if they were twins, her brother was a grade ahead of her.
"It wasn't until I was about 10 that I learned we weren't twins," she laughed.
The only boy in a family with three girls, Chris Cotinola was both babied and picked on growing up, recalled his older sister, Jenisa Loya.
"He was always joking and making fun of me," she said holding back tears. "I couldn't have a serious conversation with him sometimes because he was always trying to make me laugh. "
A trait that would sometimes infuriate Loya, she expressed how much it would mean to her to hear him crack another joke at her expense just once more.
Unprepared to bury a son so young, the Cotinola family and members of their church organized the car washes as well as other fundraisers to help pay for Chris Cotinola's funeral.
According to Sarah Cotinola, they have been able to raise approximately $2,000 between car washes and donations made through the church.
Most of those helping at Saturday's car wash were still in shock over the death of the 20-year-old who was planning a future with his girlfriend, Jessie Palomo.
"He told me, 'That's the one for me,'" Loya said. "He loved her and wanted to marry her. "
Palomo sat on a nearby wall with a distant look in her eyes as cars pulled into the taco stand's parking lot.
"He was my everything," Palomo said.
The couple had spoken about getting married and having a child, Palomo said.
"He wanted to wait, though, until we were ready," Palomo said. "He said he wanted to make sure if we had a kid he would be able to give it everything. "
Anyone with information on any of the recent shootings is asked to call the Pomona Police Department at 909-920-2095.
Reach Beatriz via email, call her at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.