Oakland police try to track down 5-year-old's killer

January 2, 2012 7:45:18 PM PST
A devastated family begins the New Year without their little boy. Their 5-year-old was shot and killed Friday night. And while they grieve police make progress.

The Martinez family is struggling to cope with the loss of their 5-year-old, but Monday afternoon, there is new information from the Oakland police about the car the shooter may have been driving.

"Our child was gunned down. That's how personally it hits," said Shelly Garza, a friend of the victim's family.

Garza is struggling. She is a close family friend of the Martinez family and is watching them suffer.

"I see his pain, I held his heart at the hospital. I actually put my palm on his heart when he was in pain," said Garza.

Gabriel Martinez Jr. was shot and killed near his families' taco truck on Friday night. Police believe that the 5-year-old was the unintended victim of the random gun violence that continues to plague this East Oakland neighborhood.

"This is a senseless act of violence..." said Oakland Police spokesperson Officer Johnna Watson.

Monday, new information emerged about the car the shooter may have been driving. Oakland police tell us that they are looking for a silver or gray-colored, American-made car that was last seen heading westbound on International Boulevard.

Police spent the day canvassing the neighborhood and are hoping that with the number of people gathered at the taco truck that evening, someone may be familiar with the car.

"We just know that it's an American-made silver car. I don't have any additional information and we're hoping that someone will be able to come forward and maybe have a license plate or more of a detailed description of the car," said Watson.

Police are also looking for a female passenger, also black, about 18 years old and wearing a red suede jacket and light colored blue jeans.

Elaine Carbajal lives in the neighborhood and used Gabriel's memorial as a lesson to her grandsons about the dangers of the streets and a reason to hold them even tighter.

"I just want them to know that, I know the family, I want them to know that there's somebody out here that cares," said Carbajal.

Police were quick to point out that all pieces of information no matter how small, can aid in their search for the shooter and Shelly says, it can start the healing process.

"Call somebody and let somebody know because you cannot harbor that secret if you know what happened," said Garza.

Police are offering a $25,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest. They have also set up a 24-hour tip line that is completely anonymous: 510-773-2805.