Beloved restaurant owner killed in Oakland

April 8, 2011 7:34:05 PM PDT
Family and friends of a beloved Oakland restaurant owner are mourning his death. Jesus Campos was shot and killed early Friday morning.

"There were times people would come in here and he would just feed them, you know; he was a kind, kind person," Roy Mejia said.

Mejia was one of Campos' best friends. He knew him for 30 years.

Every morning around 5:30 a.m., Campos would walk from his house, across the street, to his restaurant.

"Mr. Campos was walking to his business, he had just opened a side door into the restaurant when he was accosted by two suspects," Oakland Police Lt. Brian Meideros said. "It looked like it was an attempted robbery that went bad and Mr. Campos was shot."

Campos was rushed to the hospital, where he died.

Family and friends gathered outside his home across the street from his restaurant, Otaez Mexicatessen. They tried to make some sense of the tragedy.

"We lost a good man, he gave everything for nothing," friend Jose Ortiz said.

It seems like everyone in this business district knew Chuy, as he was called with great respect. He was a community leader, a former president of the Fruitvale Merchants Association and businessman who owned two other restaurants and numerous other businesses.

Campos was a man who rose from humble beginnings.

"He was a foundry worker, member of my union, he started as a molder in the foundry, then he got older and obviously his dream was to own a restaurant," Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente said.

Merchants crowded into a nearby restaurant for a hastily called meeting with police and Mayor Jean Quan. Reporters were not allowed in, but participants say it was an angry meeting. Merchants were fed up with the crime on International Boulevard.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts promised more help.

"We've had complaints of robberies to prostitution; we will move these resources along those lines," Batts said.

"They haven't been addressed and it took finally an icon in our community, who basically gave rise to the development of this Fruitvale district, to get killed to finally rally us," Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Jose Duenas said.

Merchants and the city are offering a $30,000 reward for information about the murder.

"He gave to his community and we hope the community will give back by helping us find the people who are responsible for his death," Quan said.

Witnesses say the killers drove off in a very clean, gray 2000 Buick Regal or Pontiac with 20-inch rim tires.

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