OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A 16-year-old girl who was gunned down near an East Oakland liquor store late Wednesday night had a difficult life but was working hard to make a better life for herself and her family, her uncle said.
Talking to reporters on Thursday outside the Oaks Market and Liquor Store at the corner of Talbot Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, near the 106th Avenue exit off Interstate Highway 580, Brandon Turner said his niece, Taiteanna Turner, “stepped up to become a role model” after her father was murdered four years ago.
Turner, 29, said Taiteanna “had a close relationship” with her father, William Turner, who was 29 when he was killed near the corner of 32nd Street and San Pablo Avenue at about 5:50 a.m. on March 5, 2008.
Brandon Turner said William Turner was his older brother.
Turner said Taiteanna and he also are cousins of 15-year-old Hadari Askari, who was fatally shot outside a housing complex in the 6700 block of Leona Creek Drive about 8 p.m. on July 10, shortly after he had begun a summer work program with the Oakland Fire Department.
Turner said Taiteanna was the mother of a baby girl, Maelanni, who was born last Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving.
He said Taiteanna “found all the joy in being a mother” and despite the hardships in her life, “she was a very outgoing lady and the life of the party.”
Turner said Taiteanna took some time off from attending Oakland High School while she was pregnant but returned to school shortly after she gave birth because she wanted to make something of her life.
Oakland police have released few details about the shooting except to say that it occurred near the liquor store at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday and there was a second victim, a 23-year-old man who was shot and wounded but is in stable condition at a hospital.
Turner said the 23-year-old man who was with Taiteanna when both were shot was just a friend, not the father of her baby girl.
Turner said he doesn’t know much about the nature of Taiteanna’s relationship with the girl’s father.
He said the father “was a lot older” than Taiteanna and that he wasn’t thrilled about the large age gap.
Turner said Taiteanna lived with her family on 99th Avenue, below East 14th Street, and was the fourth of seven children.
He said being on the streets of East Oakland late at night can be dangerous “because you can’t control who you’re with” and might be with someone who is the target of a shooting.
Turner said the fact that Taiteanna was near the liquor store late at night was “an unfortunate situation that ended up real bad.”
Turner said Taiteanna’s family is not seeking revenge, but asked community members to come forward with information that would help police arrest Wednesday’s shooter.
“I want justice served for my niece,” he said.
Shortly before noon on Thursday, mourners gathered at the scene
and attached balloons to a fence in front of a home across from Oak’s Market and Liquor Store. Mourners also brought bouquets of flowers and a teddy bear and several people at the scene were crying.
McKeever Edwards, 40, who lives in the area but didn’t know Taiteanna, said police patrol the area regularly because there’s a lot of crime in the area.
Edwards said he believes that suspects who carry out shootings in the area “have no feelings and have no remorse anymore.”
Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said investigators are interviewing multiple witnesses to the shooting and said the witnesses have been cooperative.
She said anyone with information about the shooting should call police at (510) 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at (510) 777-8572 or (510) 777-3211.
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