Family, friends speak out after child shot

December 31, 2011 8:37:46 PM PST
There are growing concerns about violence in Oakland after another child is shot and killed.

Gabriel Martinez, Jr., 5, was killed while helping his parents at their taco truck Friday evening.

Family and friends stood silent at the corner of 55th Avenue and International Boulevard where someone walked up to the Los Amigos taco truck, ordered food and then opened fire.

Gabrielito, as many called him, was there with his parents who own the truck. The little boy was near the back of the truck helping his father carry sodas when the shooting started.

"He touched him and saw blood on his hands, so he started screaming, 'my kid got shot, my kid got shot,' and the wife started screaming, 'he's got a gun, he has a gun, call the cops,'" said truck employee Ricardo Rodriguez.

The shooter and his female companion got away.

"Everybody wants to know why did he do it," said truck employee Maricela Chavez. "Did he shoot straight-up at the kid? I mean, come on, he was with his dad helping his dad!"

As the memorial of stuffed animals and candles grow, so does the frustration.

Gabrielito is the third child under the age of six to be mudrered in Oakland since August. Carlos Nava, 3, was killed by a drive-by shooter while riding his toy truck on August 8, and on Dec. 9, 23-month-old Hiram Lawrence, Jr. died after being shot during a gang-related shootout.

"We're in crisis," said family friend Shelly Garza. "Our city is in a crisis and we have to stop when 5-year-old babies are getting killed -- 2-year-old babies or 3-year-old babies are getting killed."

Fear is following the crisis. Two of the three children shot were on International Boulevard in Oakland. "I'm planning to get a permit to carry a firearm, because I'm scared for my safety and those around me," said Rodriguez.

A $25,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information about this most-recent shooting. Anyone with informatino is urged to contact the Oakland Police Department at 510-773-2805.