Hours after getting married, a groom was allegedly killed by wedding crashers at his own reception. Police in Chino, California, were called to a residence around 2:20am Sunday to find Joe Melgoza, 30, with blunt force trauma to the head, NBC News reports. Friends and family say two men came uninvited to the reception, which started Saturday night in the backyard of the bride's sister's home, and were asked to leave. "Those cowards came back with bats," Melgoza's brother says, and the groom was trying to protect his family when he was beaten. He was found in the backyard of a nearby home and later died at a nearby hospital. On Sunday afternoon, police arrested brothers Rony Aristides Castaneda Ramirez, 28, and Josue Daniel Castaneda Ramirez, 19, in the incident.
No word has been released yet on charges, but they're being held on suspicion of murder and are due in court Tuesday, per KTLA. The relationship between the suspects and the victims (two other partygoers also had minor injuries, per a police statement) is unclear, and police are not yet speculating on the Ramirez brothers' motive for allegedly showing up and getting violent. NBC Los Angeles says the suspects didn't know Melgoza, but lived nearby. "Joe was a loving son, brother, father, cousin, partner, family member and friend. He always had a way to make you smile. He was there for you at anytime to give a helping hand," reads a GoFundMe campaign started for the family. "He leaves behind his [11-year-old] daughter Lilly [of whom he has full custody] who will be in good hands with Joe’s family." (Newlyweds killed minutes after getting married.)