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18-year-old shot and killed in Oakland

March 29, 2010 6:36:43 PM PDT
A family and an entire school are grieving over the shooting death of a popular high school football player. Skyline High School student Eric Toscano was celebrating his 18th birthday at his East Oakland home over the weekend when he was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Toscano actually turned 18 two weeks ago, but he wanted to celebrate with friends, so he threw a belated birthday party Saturday night.

Family members say Toscano was standing in the driveway with friends when a white car drove up and from the back seat, someone fired directly into the crowd.

Toscano was shot in the head and killed. Three other teenagers were also hit, but will survive.

"Anytime you have a drive-by shooting, we always have to look into the possibility that there is a gang affiliation," Oakland Police Officer Holly Joshi said. "However, we have no indication that the victim of this homicide had any gang ties at all."

Toscano's friends and family say the honor student had no enemies. He played defensive line on the football team, attended classes at Merrit College on the weekends, was about to graduate and had just learned he was accepted at Chico State University.

Even his football coach is struggling to find answers.

"Sometimes you don't know what to say, you want to say, 'It's going to be OK,' but just like them, I'm just as traumatized," Jamaal Kizziee said.

"I never seen Eric had a problem, he was a really friendly person, I don't think he would have problems with anybody," classmate Maria Inzunza said.

Police say they are looking into whether there is a connection between the shooting and a disturbance at the party earlier in the evening by a group who was uninvited.

A Cesar Chavez Day mural going up at Toscano's old elementary school will be dedicated in his honor.

"A peaceful, beautiful young man who was never involved in any gang activity, never involved in any violence, always really focused on his education," Moyra Contreras of the Melrose Leadership Academy said.

Toscano's father was present at the house Saturday night. He declined to appear on camera, but said he did everything he could to supervise his son's party.

There is now a $25,000 reward being offered. Anyone with information on the shootings can call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.


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