Family crumbles after Berkeley High brothers die at birthday party
The two teenage boys killed in a shooting at a North Oakland Airbnb rental were inseparable brothers who did almost everything together, right down to a Berkeley high school classmate’s birthday party. ended in a bloodbath on Saturday night, one of the boys’ cousins said on Monday.
Jazy Sotelo Garcia, 17, and her younger brother, Angel Sotelo Garcia, 15, were killed at the party near the Oakland-Emeryville town line, according to their cousin, Melani Garcia, 18. They died in a flurry of gunfire which also saw two other teenagers, aged 16 and 15, hospitalized with gunshot wounds in a shooting which took place at one of the short-term rental properties Airbnb term in North Oakland.
The shooting on Monday left the boys’ family in shock and shock. The boy’s mother is “devastated, crushed” and unable to understand what happened, Melani Garcia said.
“They were a package – where you saw one, you saw the other,” Melani Garcia said of the brothers’ affinity for forever spending time together. She was unable to make sense of the bloodshed, adding: “You go to a birthday party, you don’t think anyone is going to shoot him. And you don’t expect to violence. It’s a child’s birthday party.
Oakland police were called by several people around 9:45 p.m. to a duplex in the 900 block of Apgar Street in North Oakland, a residential street connecting Market Street and West MacArthur Boulevard, authorities said. The party of at least 30 people had been going on for two or three hours when three people arrived – two of whom started shootingauthorities said.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said the shooting did not appear to be gang-related. At least one rifle and one handgun were used in the attack, which appeared to target one or more people at the party.
“We believe this is the result of a conflict that may have happened at school before,” Armstrong said at a Monday afternoon news conference. “We believe three individuals came in a vehicle, entered the house, two of whom started firing bullets.”
“They knew exactly the individuals they were looking to take down,” Armstrong added.
Both teenagers died instantly. Two other teenagers were hospitalized and expected to survive. Police had yet to identify the shooters as of Monday afternoon.
Airbnb confirmed that the Apgar Street property was rented through its service. The party, the company said, was “unauthorized” and was held without the knowledge or consent of the property’s host, according to the company’s statement.
A relative of the student whose birthday was being celebrated Saturday night had booked the Airbnb rental, Armstrong said. It was intended for “a select group of people, but obviously the information was passed on to other people,” he added. Police are still working to determine if the parent was at the party when the shooting happened.
Airbnb didn’t give further details on who booked the listing, but said the booking guest was removed from its platform and the listing was deactivated “while we investigate further.” . The company has taken steps in recent years to ban parties at its residences amid scrutiny of numerous shootings at properties listed by its service.
“We join the Oakland community in condemning the criminal gun violence that has brought about this senseless tragedy,” the company said in a statement. “Our priority at this time is to provide our support to those affected, including our host, and we are in contact with the Oakland Police Department to support their investigation.”
Shooting comes amid a violent stretch in Oakland which has forced police and city leaders to try to revamp their approach to dealing with gun violence across the city. Just three days before the birthday party shoot, six people were injured when two shooters opened fire at the King Estates educational campus in East Oakland as part of a gang-related hit.
On Monday, Oakland police released video of the gunmen entering campus and fleeing moments later.
OPD is posting this video in the hope that the community can help identify those wanted in connection with the King Estate campus shooting on September 28, 2022.
If you have information about this case, contact the OPD at (510) 238-3821 or the TIP LINE at (510) 238-7950. pic.twitter.com/KKXHmOqGml
— Oakland Police Department (@oaklandpoliceca) October 3, 2022
“We need to take guns out of the hands of young people,” Armstrong said. “And it’s not just a police problem – it’s a problem for families. These things start at home. Far too many children have access to guns. And that’s causing enormous damage, long term damage.
Among the latest victims of this violence, the Sotelo Garcia brothers, were the eldest of six brothers and sisters. They often helped their mother, a single mother, to raise their brothers, the youngest of whom is 3 years old.
Jazy was the more introverted of the two – often appearing more shy in public. That said, “Once you got to know him, he wouldn’t stop talking — he was talking to you,” Melani Garcia said. A junior at Berkeley High, he had just begun to consider his options for college.
Angel was more outgoing and had expressed ambitions to one day turn his love for drawing and art into a career as an architect.
“They were the kind of kids to ask their mom if she needed help around the house before asking out. And they always put their family first,” Melani Garcia said. “It’s really heartbreaking, because they were children and they were really at the heart of our family unit.”
The grief of the past two days — and the outpouring of support, including donations to a GoFundMe page — left Melani Garcia in tears on Monday morning.
“Words can’t describe how much they helped,” said Melani Garcia. “It’s really heartwarming to see that our boys are so loved.”