"The rest of my life I have to spend without someone I love. They didn't just take a life. They took apart our hearts."
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Loved ones of a 33-year-old man who was shot and killed near Lake Merritt Wednesday night are sharing memories of his life and asking for changes to gun laws.
It will still take time before any of what happened to Melani Wakefield's cousin Devon Stanford will make any sense.
"I found out yesterday morning and I...I lost it," says Wakefield. "I fell to the floor. I was standing when I found out and I fell to the floor. It doesn't feel real. It doesn't feel like it actually happened."
Devon was a father and had a love of freestyle rap, fashion and the great outdoors. He and his partner of six years, Meridith Lear were taking a walk when he was shot and killed in a robbery attempt. All for what Lear told ABC7 News, was a Louis Vuitton bag.
Wakefield was devastated at the senselessness of it all.
Zooming in from their hometown of Austin, Texas, Wakefield says Devon fell in love with the Bay Area on a road trip across the country. However, he never let distance get in the way of their tight-knit relationship or taking care of others.
"He was incredibly caring, genuine, caring man and he would have given you the shirt off his back," said Wakefield.
Devon's passing marks the third deadly shooting in the area since November and the city's 31 homicide of 2022.
Oakland's police chief held a press conference Thursday promising more officers.
Melani wants even more.
"I live in Texas. In Texas we love guns. I love guns. But the truth is, there really needs to be some sort of harsher punishment for gun violence," she says.
As Devon's family asks for justice and raises money for funeral expenses and his daughter's college education through a GoFundMe page, they also remind anyone watching; while this story will come and go, there needs to be lasting change.
"The rest of my life I have to spend without someone I love and care about tremendously. They didn't just take a life. They took apart our hearts," said Wakefield.
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