During an emotional press conference Thursday, the family of Wilbur Bartley said they are an extremely private family but wanted to make a public plea not only for help in finding his killer, but also to let everyone know what kind of man he was. "My father was an amazing man," his daughter Meshon Bartlow said. Less than 24 hours after her father was gunned down at his East Oakland store, she tried to describe the loss. "He did things for people that he didn't have to do them for. He did them without question, without reason. He just did," she said.
"Everyone knew how great he was because they wouldn't be here if not," said the victim's wife Lagree Bartley. The 50-year-old Bartley was found with at least one gunshot wound at about 7:20 Wednesday night on the floor inside his business "Marcus Cellular" on International Boulevard. Police say it appears he was shot during a robbery, but offered few other details. "I'm personally saddened by this very senseless act of violence and I've pledged to this family and this community that we will pour as many resources as we can into finding the killer or killers," said Police Chief Howard Jordan.
Bartley named his cellular store after his son Marcus. "Really, all I ask is that if you do know information, that you do share it with us," Marcus said. Throughout the day, friends and family left candles, flowers, and notes at the door of the store. Many of the tributes sported the black and silver of Bartley's beloved Oakland Raiders. "He was just all around a good man. I can't understand why somebody would just harm him like that," Barley's friend Cindy Araujo said.
"If someone could take his life for money or whatever, that's crazy to me. We need to know. We need to know," Meshon said. In her remarks, Bartley's wife made a plea to the governor, asking where is the help that he promised in Oakland to help fight crime. As it happens, the California Highway Patrol took the streets of Oakland and began patrolling on Thursday.