Samoan community mentor ID'd as man killed in mass shooting near UC Berkeley

The ministry student was one of four shot after a fight broke out near the UC Berkeley campus. He was the only person killed.

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ByJ.R. Stone via KGO logo
Saturday, October 15, 2022
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A 29-year-old ministry student was one of four people shot after a fight broke out near the UC Berkeley campus. He was the only person killed.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- The young man killed in last weekend's mass shooting in Berkeley has been identified.

PREVIOUS REPORT: 1 dead, 3 injured following shooting near UC Berkeley, police say

29-year-old Isamaeli Mataafa, who went by Eli, was the man killed. Family and friends say Mataafa was studying ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, involved in the master of divinity program. His death is hitting the Bay Area Samoan community hard.

"Eli Mataafa was a mentor in the Samoan community in San Lorenzo. My thoughts are with the family that has been ripped apart by this senseless act of violence," said Rigel Robinson who is Berkeley District 7 councilmember.

Eli was one of four people shot after a fight broke out near the UC Berkeley campus. He was the only person killed. Someone who was very active at his church in San Lorenzo, according to friends who spoke with ABC7 News.

Tuesday night, numerous people called into the Berkeley City Council Meeting, upset over what they say is just the latest recent case of violence near the UC Berkeley campus.

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"The students are still walking to class where blood stains are on the sidewalk. What immediate action is being done? When are you increasing officers?" argued one UC Berkeley parent.

"Immediate action must be taken! We cannot wait until another person is murdered," yelled another parent.

"The weekend mass shooting was unacceptable! It is a serious wake up call. The streets of Berkeley are not safe," said a UC Berkeley parent.

Berkeley Acting Police Chief Jennifer Louis says the department is doing what they can to solve this recent killing, but there are challenges.

"Absolutely the case that we don't have a lot of officers right now. We are at a historic low. A historic low of officers available to be out on the street," said Chief Louis.

The city manager and chief say they are doing what they can to fill officer positions.

As for those who knew and loved Mataafa, they are planning to remember him at a vigil on Thursday night.

No arrests have been made in Mataafa's case. At the city council meeting, the chief would only say that they have an excellent detective unit that was out there and that unit is actively investigating the case.

If you would like to help the family with Isamaeli Mataafa's funeral expenses, here is a link to their GoFundMe.

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