"The family feel that everyone is in support of them... they wanted me to let everyone know their appreciation."
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Friday as one of the suspects arrested in the tragic shooting of 23-month old Jasper Wu made his first court appearance, we're hearing from the little boy's parents and a close family friend. They describe the rollercoaster of emotions the past 13 months has been and how they're handling the news of the three men arrested.
The moment Susan Xu and Jasper Wu's parents got the news of three arrests in the 23-month-old's killing, it was a mix of emotions.
Jasper Wu case timeline: A 13-month investigation into Oakland freeway shooting death of toddler
"Of course we were super relieved when we found our the suspect was in custody after 13 months, and also kind of sad. Everyone thinks about Jasper and it still brings tears everytime I think about it," Susan said.
Thursday, the Alameda County District Attorney announced the arrest of three men for the shooting death of baby Jasper on Nov. 6, 2021. The boy was the victim of gunfire between rival gangs from San Francisco. Nancy O'Malley described how men in two vehicles were shooting at each other as they were driving down the freeway and how a stray bullet pierced the windshield of the Lexus Jasper's family was in.
Susan is a close family friend of the little boy's mother and father. She was alongside Jasper's mother and grandmother, crafting a roadside memorial along I-880 shortly after Jasper's passing. She described the 13-month long waiting game.
"The CHP has done a great job keeping the family updated on progress - we were all thinking - maybe we won't be able to find the suspect. Sometimes when I saw them I tried not to bring it up," Susan said.
On behalf of Jasper's family, Susan conveyed deep gratitude for the tireless efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies and especially CHP.
She shows me this wooden pen, handcrafted by the lead investigator in the case.
"He wrote down notes with it," Susan said. When the investigation was over, they gifted the pen to Jasper's father with the intention of it being passed down to future generations.
As Susan and Jasper's family, feel the community's love. From those who donated sandwiches at Jasper's funeral, to the West Coast Lion Dance Troupe who dedicated the awakening of the ceremonial Lion in Jasper's honor earlier this year.
"The family feel that everyone is in support of them, everyone is trying to help them and they wanted me to let everyone know their appreciation."
It's a sentiment echoed by Jasper's mom this afternoon- when we sat down with het at the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
So while Susan and Jasper's family stop short of describing the arrest as closure, they say it is a milestone. In a long road of recovery and seeking justice.
"They need to. They should be. They need to be locked up. We need to do as much as we can to keep these people off the streets."
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live