OAKLAND — Two Berkeley High School students were killed and two other revelers injured when gunfire erupted at a birthday party in Oakland on Saturday night.
Witnesses said the shooting happened on the second floor of a duplex at 988 Apgar Street near the Oakland/Emeryville border.
Family members and a Berkeley High teacher said the two teens killed were brothers from Berkeley. The teacher said the two surviving victims were also students at Berkeley High.
Family and friends have identified the two brothers as 17-year-old Jazy Soleto Garcia and 15-year-old Angel Soleto Garcia. Angel’s teacher said he was in second grade at school. The coroner’s office has not released their names pending next of kin notification.
Neighbors said around 30 to 40 teenagers attended what was believed to be a birthday party which started around 8pm on Saturday evening.
“It just started as a commotion where young people were drinking and congregating. (And then) broke out into bickering and hostility. Before you knew it, two guys came upstairs and started arguing. shoot it,” neighbor and witness Martin said. Opsahl, who lives across the street.
School officials released a statement confirming the student deaths.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that two Berkeley High School students and beloved members of the BUSD family lost their lives yesterday in a senseless act of gun violence,” Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel wrote in an email. mail. “Our hearts go out to their family and everyone affected by this tragedy. Because it was two of our own, we all feel this pain collectively and we need to stand especially close and take care of each other. “
Sandra Loving, president of Berkeley High PTSA, told KPIX in a statement on Sunday evening, “We will be holding all of our children close to us tonight. We will be working with the district and Berkeley High administration to support all of our students during this heartbreaking time.”
The deaths came during another weekend of deadly shootings across the city. Two other shootings claimed their lives and left another victim clinging to life.
City Councilman Dan Kalb said violent crime in Oakland has gotten out of control and it will take a comprehensive strategy to move forward.
“It’s about response, prevention and enforcement and doing what we can at the federal, state and municipal level to get guns off the streets,” he said. “It’s not easy, but we need to redouble our efforts and invest more dollars to do what we can and I’m absolutely going to be part of that effort.”
During the Apgar Street shooting, police officers who arrived found several victims with gunshot wounds.
“It looked like two people exchanging gunfire. It looked like at least two guns,” Opsahl said.
Witnesses saw school-aged boys and girls screaming and running from the house. We now know that many of the teenagers were students at Berkeley High.
A crime scene cleanup officer who entered the apartment said there were still lots of party decorations inside the two-bedroom apartment. He thinks the shooting happened in the kitchen.
“It was mainly around the kitchen that we ended up seeing the majority of what was in there,” said Ricardo De Luna Jr., a cleaner at Diablo Crime Scene Cleaners. The Walnut Creek company was hired by the city and the owner to clean up the bloodstains in the house and on the sidewalk.
Neighbors said the apartment was an Airbnb vacation rental. KPIX contacted Airbnb on Sunday morning but did not receive a response.
“(There were) a bunch of beer crates out front and I was like ‘let’s go.’ You just never think it would evolve into something like this,” Opsahl said.
The two injured teens were in stable condition as of Sunday, police said.
No suspects have been arrested.
The shooting came amid a wave of deadly violence on the streets of Oakland. After the latest shootings, 12 victims have died in the past two weeks. The city has seen 99 homicides so far this year.
Six people were injured last weekin East Oakland.
Oakland police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call their Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or the department’s hotline at (510) 238-7950.