Story by Hannah Robison
LBCC student Arnold Evan James Jr. died Saturday, Nov 4 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach. He was 58.
James was a criminal justice major hoping to pursue a career in law enforcement. Before changing his major to criminal justice, he was a journalism major and a staff member of the Viking News.
Former journalism student Jesus Hernandez, 28, said, “I met (A.J.) when I joined (the Viking staff) as an online editor. He motivated me to move forward and stick with the Viking. He was very supportive… (and) he’d talk to me about what was bothering him. He just needed somebody to talk to.”
James was also a military veteran who fought in Afghanistan. James Sr. said, “After he came back home from the war in Afghanistan, he just wasn’t the same. The war really affected him. After you go off to training, they teach you how to kill people. He was never the same after that.”
James David Martinez, a Veterans adviser and Veteran Services officer at LBCC, said James Jr. was active in the Veterans Club and often participated in outdoor activities with the group.
James Sr. added, “He liked education and loved to learn. He could read a book a day. That’s something I wish I could say I did. … He just received a book in the mail (about combatting zones) called ‘Cheating Death’.”
Viking News adviser Patrick McKean said, “Arnold James (A.J.) was a dedicated student on the Viking newspaper and City magazine for several semesters and always contributed worthy material for publication. His dad, Arnold James (Sr.), often framed important photos that we proudly display in our classrooms and offices.”
James Jr’s father said he died of kidney and liver diseases.
A funeral service is planned for Saturday, Jan. 13, at a church in Cypress, his father said.