Vigil planned for father shot down in Oakland

August 29, 2011 6:03:35 PM PDT
In Oakland Monday night, there is a planned vigil for yet another person gunned down. This time, a father was shot and killed in front of his young child.

Jose Esparza had just left a store on International Boulevard and 103rd Avenue when two men tried to rob him. He was shot in front of his 6-year-old son.

Police have made no arrests so far in this shooting. In the meantime, the family of Esparza has been moved to action. They will hold a vigil at 6 p.m. Monday and they put out a call to the community that the random violence must stop.

Julia Maria Carrillo is trying to come to grips with what happened just 24 hours ago. Her husband of 13 years, Jose Esparza was gunned down in a robbery just a few blocks from his home, at 1 in the afternoon, with their 6-year-old son watching from the family car.

Through an interpreter, Carrillo said her son, who was a witness, keeps repeating everything exactly how it happened. She also said Esparza was a good dad who was very playful. He would always give to his children what they needed.

The 39-year-old Esparza leaves behind his wife and two young sons. The family had just come from church when Esparza stopped at the El Pueblo market to shop for bread and cash his paycheck.

"How am I going to tell my cousins, they took your father's life? Especially the 6-year-old you know? He's going to grow up living that every day, how his father died," said Sergio Romero, the victim's cousin.

Esparza's murder is the third daytime shooting along International Boulevard this month. Last week, a 4-year-old boy was wounded in the arm at 59th and International. On Aug. 8, 3-year-old Carlos Nava was killed by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting at 64th and international.

Nava's accused killer, 26-year-old Lawrence Denard made a brief court appearance Monday, but did not enter a plea. City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente says police need more tools to control the violence in East Oakland.

"I don't think it's one single thing will help us resolve the problem, but a toolbox of things the police can use -- gang injunctions, curfew, you name it, loitering ordinances -- all of those things together will probably help us," said De La Fuente.

Carrillo said this violence that's happening in our community must stop. It's dividing us. It's actually leaving families without a parent.

De La Fuente is a strong advocate of gang injunctions, but Mayor Jean Quan and other council members have strong constitutional concerns about those injunctions and they wonder if in this shooting case, if they would really make a difference.

Police and CrimeStoppers of Oakland are offering up to $15,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information can call Oakland police at 510-238-3821 or CrimeStoppers at 510-777-8572.

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