"He was the world to me," Carranza said. "I don't know what was in the heart of the man who killed my brother. I don't know what he was seeking. Those are things I'm going to leave to a higher power. If I dwell on it, I let it take over."
More than 700 people have joined a Facebook page Britton-Mihalo's friends started in his memory, posting photos of a trip Andrew took to Disneyland, reminiscences of his school days, Ronald Reagan quotes about freedom, shots of fun times with the woman now known as Sgt. Jesse Britton.
At his old school, students observed a moment of silence to mark his death.
"In high school, we create a bubble; we try to keep them young and carefree for a few years," said Principal Deborah Salgado. "Then we send them out into an overly serious world."
In accordance with his family's wishes, Andrew Britton-Mihalo is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on May 25. Thirty days later, he would have celebrated his 26th birthday.