Recent college grad fatally shot after traffic collision in Oakland

June 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland police think a minor accident may have led to murder, and now they're looking for two men who killed Aya Nakano on the night before his birthday.

On Wednesday night Nakano was playing a pick-up basketball game with friends at the U.C. Berkeley campus. And now the recent Oregon grad's face is on a flyer posted near the intersection where he was murdered.

Together, Crime Stoppers and Nakano's family are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the young man's killer.

"Today was actually his 23rd birthday, so..." said the victim's uncle, Troy Aquino.

Aquino says his nephew was on his way home from the gym just before 11 p.m. That's when he was rear-ended near the corner of Market Street and Stanford Avenue in North Oakland.

"Whether that was intentional or accidental, that is yet to be determined," OPD spokesperson Sgt. Johnna Watson said. "Our victim did do the right thing. He pulled over."

Nakano turned the corner and got out on Market Street. Police say traffic cameras captured two men in a silver, newer model sedan, confronting the victim and shooting him one time.

"He was just a happy, happy guy," Aquino said. "He's always been quiet, he's always been friendly. His parents always joked around with him that, you know, don't be a hero whenever there's trouble. Just stay away from it."

Police detectives took paint samples from Nakano's bumper hoping to match it to the suspect's car. He was just a mile from home where his parents had a birthday meal waiting for him.

"He said I want to play basketball and then I'll come back and eat the dinner that you cooked for me and he never got to finish it," Aquino said.

Police don't believe there's a personal connection to this murder; just a fender bender that was settled with a gun.

A friend of Nakano, Robby Allen, says he had so much going for him. The recent University of Oregon grad was so happy to be back home in his beloved Bay Area. His friends say he will be deeply missed.

"He was like the most popular person I ever met at the University of Oregon. You know not the biggest guy in stature, but he had the biggest personality you've ever met. This kid came in a room and his smile lit it up," said Allen.

Oakland police are now going over video from traffic and surveillance cameras located at the intersection in hopes of finding the people responsible. There's a $10,0000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case.

ABC7 News reporter Lilian Kim contributed to this report.


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