Vigil held for teen murdered in Campbell

Campbell Community Center
March 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A vigil was held Monday night at Santa Clara High School for a former football player, shot to death on the streets of Campbell Sunday night.

Richard Vega, 18, became Campbell's first murder victim since 2007 after he was shot around 10:30 p.m. on Latimer Avenue. Police say they don't know the motive behind the killing, but local residents speculate the answer might be found at the city's handball courts.

Authorities spent seven hours looking for evidence at the crime scene. They have yet to make an arrest and are reaching out to the community for assistance.

"Any residents in the area who may have surveillance cameras outside their house that may have captured something, provide that to us," said Detective Gary Berg of the Campbell Police Department.

"It's crazy. It's crazy and it's very scary that, you know, I have two boys and we walk down the street, we live here. And to know that this could happen like right literally outside my door, it's very scary," said resident Sandra Lanczok.

Lanczok is upset but not surprised the murder occurred. She has noticed an increase of traffic on her street late at night. Usually it's young men going to and from the Campbell Community Center across the street.

"I feel it's just gang activity, period. The handball courts, to me, are just a very big concern over there," she said.

The handball courts are open at night and Lanczok says a dangerous element gathers there. Her 18-year-old son used to hang out there until he was confronted by gang members.

"If you dress differently they'll just be like, 'Oh what are you claiming?' And I'll just, I'm like, 'Nothing man, what are you talking about?'" said Lanczok's son Steven.

Campbell police don't believe Sunday's murder had anything to do with the community center. But Campbell's mayor, Evan Low thinks the center deserves extra attention.

"I have heard from a number of residents that there might be an issue, and so certainly I've asked our police department to take the necessary action to review and address that issue," he said.

Police don't have enough information to suggest that the victim was a member of a gang but the mayor says that police are considering the possibility that maybe a gang is to blame and that this was a case of mistaken identity.

Vega's killing has shocked his friends.

"Always had a smile on his face, never upset, never mad. No one was ever mad at him. He was just, you would have the worst day and he would just find a way to just put a smile on your face," said Sydney Fenton, Vega's high school friend.

"I actually played basketball with him on Saturday. It was me and a bunch of our friends, we just got together and played basketball for a couple of hours. Everything was fine then," said Vega's friend Arman Medar.

Friends left flowers for Vega at the crime scene. They say Vega had been taking classes at De Anza College.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Campbell police at (408) 871-5190, or anonymously to (408) 947-7867.


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