OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A college student in Oakland was doing all the right things to work toward a bright future. But his life was cut short by a stray bullet and information is sought in finding his killer.
Thursday would have been Demetrius Roosevelt Fleming’s 19th birthday. Instead, his funeral was held. Family and friends released doves after his funeral and chanted “Happy Birthday.”READ MORE: Glide Church Co-Founder, Poet and San Francisco Activist Janice Mirikitani Dies at Age 80
“It’s just not the same. His laughter is missing, his smile is missing, his charisma. Just the whole work energy in the building, it’s flat,” said Sequence Young at Berkeley Youth Alternatives.
The killing hit Young so hard that she took some time off from work to grieve the loss.
Young was Fleming’s mentor and supervisor at his internship for the last two years.
They had worked together the day before a stray bullet killed Fleming on April 10th around 6:30 pm. Oakland police said he was a passenger in a truck driving in the area of International Boulevard and 68th Avenue when a stray bullet hit him.
Detectives said there was a shooting in the area at the time and it had nothing to do with Fleming or the people in the truck.
“I want to give (the garden) a name change. I want a mural of him in the garden. I want a plaque of him in the hallway. I just don’t want people to forget,” said Young, referring to Fleming’s love for gardening.
She and others who knew Fleming said he was a hard-working teenager who tried to brighten the lives of those he came across.READ MORE: VTA Providing Free Bus Rides in Santa Clara County to Cover Light-Rail Routes
“Demetrius pretty much grew up in the church,” said Bishop Bob Jackson at Acts Full Gospel Church.
Bishop Jackson said Fleming had been going to Acts Full Gospel since he was five years old. The bishop said he was always the life of the party: fun, loving, and a prankster at times.
“We took them to camp, the kids and all. First thing he did when he got off the bus, he ran off into the woods and found a snake. Came back with the snake and started chasing all the kids around the camp. Always that kind of guy. Just a fun guy,” recalled Jackson.
Aside from his internship, Fleming was working part-time at a Dollar Tree store and attending Berkeley City College.
Family and friends said he wanted to earn a degree and take care of his family.
“We talked about police officers killing people in the street, but we don’t talk enough about killings that go on in the neighborhood almost every day. We have 44 homicides in Oakland so far this year,” said Bishop Jackson.
“I just hope somebody comes through and gives the justice that we need because we are not at peace right now,” said Young.
Friends will hold a ceremony in the orchard at Berkeley Youth Alternatives to celebrate Fleming’s life Saturday afternoon.MORE NEWS: Alameda Police Seek Suspects in Violent Tuesday-Night Carjacking
Oakland Police said they don’t have any suspects at this time and are asking people to come forward with information. A $15,000 reward has been offered in the case.