Police are seeking three suspects in a Saturday night shooting that killed two Berkeley brothers attending a North Oakland birthday party, police said Monday.
Angel Sotelo Garcia, 15, and his brother Jazy, 17, attended Berkeley High School and were the oldest of six siblings, according to a donation page to raise money for their remaining family members. Memorials sharing joyous moments with the brothers poured in on social media from friends, family and loved ones Sunday and Monday. The brothers attended Sylvia Mendez Elementary School (formerly Le Conte) and Longfellow Middle School in South Berkeley before Berkeley High.
Oakland police chief LeRonne Armstrong said at a Monday press conference that the shooting happened at a 17-year-old’s birthday party attended by about 30 teenagers. Law enforcement from Oakland and Emeryville responded to gunfire alerts and 911 calls at about 10 p.m., a few hours after the party began.
Oakland police found one person who had been shot outside the home, and two more gunshot victims inside the home. Emeryville police found one other victim a short distance away from the house, and that person was taken to the hospital for their injuries.
Police said on Sunday that the hospitalized victims were in stable condition; there was no further update Monday.
Armstrong said an adult booked the home where the party happened through Airbnb, and the short-term rental company, which instituted a permanent ban on parties this summer, said the birthday party was an “unauthorized” event thrown without the knowledge of the host.
Airbnb said it has since removed the listing from its site.
“We believe that a parent rented the Airbnb for the child, for the birthday party,” Armstrong said. “It was supposed to only be for a select group of people, but obviously the information got to other people.”
Police say the shooting is not “gang or group-related,” and likely stemmed from a conflict that happened “at or around” the high school previously.
Armstrong said the three people suspected in the shooting arrived at the party in a vehicle and entered the home. Two people in the group then began to fire rounds from both a handgun and rifle at specific individuals, he said.
“We are following up on all leads related to this shooting and I believe we are going to apprehend those who are responsible for this heinous crime,” Armstrong said.
Jazy and Angel remembered as full of ‘brotherly love’
People who knew Jazy said on social media that he was a “kind and playful presence,” the more serious of the brothers and a natural, older protector.
Friends and family remembered Angel’s smile, saying he was “always ready for a fun time, constantly carrying joy and laughter wherever he went,” and that he was a brother figure to many outside his immediate family. “Didn’t matter what he went through, he would rather love to see you have a real smile before he did,” one friend noted online.
“Jazy and Angel as brothers always protected each other, they took care of each other with a lot of brotherly love, they also protected their classmates,” one parent wrote in Spanish.
On Monday, Berkeley Unified School District counselors and district leaders were on hand at the schools Angel and Jazy had attended “to ensure that students and staff have the support that they need for counseling, to remember these beloved students, and to be in community with one another and provide comfort,” BUSD Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel wrote in a statement Monday.
“They were part of the fabric of our school community, and to lose them when they were so young and full of promise tears at who we are,” Ford Morthel wrote. “Our hearts go out to the families of these young people and to everyone in our school community who has been impacted.”
BUSD shared the following resources for talking to children about violence and grief.
- Talking to Children When Violence Happens / Hablando Con los Ninos Cuando Sucede La Violencia
- Talking to Teens When Violence Happens / Hablando Con Los Adolescentes Cuando Sucede La Violencia
- Talking with Students about Shocking or Disturbing News
- Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators
- Well Being Practices: Gentle Reminders for Times of Stress / Prácticas Para El Bienestar: Breves Recordatorios para Tiempos de Estrés
- Creating Supportive Environments When Scary Things Happen / Creando Ambientes de Apoyo Cuando Suceden Hechos Alarmantes
- Sutter Health offers free grief and bereavement support services – you do not need to carry Sutter Health insurance membership to gain access to these resources. Find out more here.
- Talking to Children About Death | Psychology Today
- How to Talk to Kids About Death
- National Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 800-309-2131
Nico Savidge contributed reporting to this story.