Archive for February 28th, 2009

Richmond teen died from shooting after party

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: California, dispute - acquaintance |

As the birthday party broke up, a hooded man casually strolled up Ohio Avenue, approaching a knot of the dispersing friends of relations standing in the driveway. He reached in a pocket the way someone might retrieve a lighter. Only it wasn’t a lighter.

“He reached into his jacket, really casually, and pulled a gun,” Richmond police Detective Eric Haupt said. “He pointed it and started firing indiscriminately at people. He wasn’t shooting at anyone in particular.”

But he hit 16-year-old Gompers High School student Salvador Cortez Jr., who fell in the driveway and died a short time later.

The man then ran off, either jumping into a waiting vehicle or not, depending on the witness.

The killing happened about 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28 on the 3100 block of Ohio, where Cortez’s family held a small party to celebrate a relative’s 18th birthday. Friends, romantic partners and other hangers-on attended.

Depending on the witness, hard looks might have been exchanged between some at the party, and someone might have been ejected before the shooting, Haupt said. But without more cooperation, he said, his theory of the crime will remain just that — a theory.The department released a sketch of the gunman this week in hope that a witness will step forward and identify him.

Cortez became the third of four West Contra Costa Unified School District students killed by gunfire this year. Most recently, 16-year-old Ajaia Ruffen died in an April 3 drive-by shooting on 19th Street. Police do not believe she was the intended target. More on Mercury news

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