SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Security guard and former police sergeant Kevin Nishita’s daughter opened up exclusively to KPIX 5’s Betty Yu about her dad’s final heroic act.
Nishita was gunned down the day before Thanksgiving during an attempted robbery in downtown Oakland, while protecting a KRON reporter.READ MORE: Thieves Ram Vehicles Into 6 San Jose Businesses to Steal ATMs In Overnight Crime Spree
Maureen Campos described Nishita as brave and selfless on and off the job.
“All I know is he was just gone way too soon,” said Campos.
She said he took on the role of dad, though she lovingly called him Uncle Kevin, which is common in Filipino culture.
After Campos lost her parents to breast cancer and a stroke in her late teens, the Nishitas welcomed her into their home with open arms and without hesitation.
Campos was only looking for a room to rent, when her high school friend and Nishita’s stepson Enrique suggested she live with them.
“They included me in plans, and when they wanted to move, they already guaranteed they had a space for me without me even asking,” said Campos. “At the time when I lived there, I had just started college, and I expect the very least from them, they’re already letting me stay there, which I’m so grateful for.”
“But he always made sure there was a spot for me in the driveway, so I didn’t have to park far. I would grocery for myself because I was just one person, and then him and Auntie Gina would kind of take note of what kind of foods I like to eat in the morning, like grab-and-go foods, and they would buy Costco sizes of it.”
Nishita was there for all the milestones in her adult life, including her college graduation and wedding.
Betty: I really think your relationship with him shows just how big his heart is…you’re his only daughter.
Maureen: “yeah, I looked back at our texts after he passed away just to read – turns out he’s kept Father’s Day cards from me.”
Campos shared the final text she sent her dad the day he was gunned down.READ MORE: CHP Arrests Fencing Suspect, Recover Stolen Merchandise From Louis Vuitton Smash-And-Grab
“I love you uncle kevin. I don’t know when you’re going to read this. But I can’t lose another dad. So pull through and fight ok? I love you uncle kev.”
Nishita would not be able to respond. The 56-year-old died three days after he was shot in the stomach near 14th and Webster Streets. Oakland police released a surveillance photo of a white Acura without a front license plate involved in the crime.
Maureen: “After he’d been shot, he was just telling the reporter to just to get down, stay at a safe area type of thing.”
Betty: “He was protecting til his last breath.”
Campos said Nishita’s co-workers called him “Turbo,” because of his speed and work ethic on the job. She said he worked as an armed guard for Star Protection Agency after retirement in the police force, because he loved the work. He regularly worked with KPIX 5.
Nishita also loved being a grandpa to her three young boys – always going over-the-top with gifts like giant inflatable dinosaurs and Hot Wheels and buying extra orders of their favorite foods.
Betty: “I’m so proud to know him, to have known him, I can’t even say in past tense, because I feel like he’s still here. What do you think he would say about what everything is saying about him?
Maureen: “Oh for sure he would just probably get all red, just stop, just stop, don’t even talk about me, it’s nothing, and just knowing that’s how he is, but just seeing how many police departments are so supportive of him it’s almost overwhelming, I lived with this guy, this hero.”
Betty: “He is a super hero. We won’t ever forget him.”
Nishita was supposed to meet Campos’ newborn Dash, his newest grandson, for the first time on a family trip to Hawaii scheduled for December 1.
“I know for one thing he wants us to stop crying,” said Campos. “I know he’ll want us to take the vacation, but to be honest it’s too hard to do, and I don’t even know how many months can pass until we can go on that airplane, without crying that he was supposed to come with us. I know that he’ll want us to keep telling funny stories about him, even if it’s embarrassing. I just know that he doesn’t want us to be sad.”
Campos added that moments after he was shot, the responding officer at the scene was someone her dad knew.
Nishita recognized his voice and was able to call out to him, while he was rushed to the hospital in the back of a police car. Campos said he was sedated at the hospital and in and out of surgeries when she visited, before he passed.MORE NEWS: Suspect In November Smash-and-Grab Robbery At High-End Sneaker Store In Santa Clara Arrested
Information on how to donate to the Kevin Nishita Trust Fund set up at the Metropolitan Bank can be found here.