WALNUT CREEK -- Anthony Banta Jr. took some time Christmas Day to write down his goals for the year, his grandfather said. But he never had a chance to accomplish them.

Just two days later, the 22-year-old hairdresser was shot dead by police during a confrontation in his apartment at 1450 Creekside Drive.

At a candlelight vigil Saturday night outside the Newell Avenue salon where the young man had worked, a tearful Marvin Banta expressed bewilderment about his grandson's death, saying police have not shared any information with the family about what led to the shooting.

"We're pretty much in the dark," he said. "We just don't understand how someone could have taken his life."

Family members -- including Banta's father and twin brother -- and co-workers were among several dozen people who gathered outside Salonamour Hair Salon for a tearful remembrance. They described Banta as kind, responsible and driven to succeed.

No one understood how Banta could have threatened officers to such a degree that they were forced to gun him down inside his residence.

"I don't think he'd ever been in a fight in his life," said Marvin Banta.

Banta's other grandfather, Brett Grainger, said Thursday that police responded to a 911 call from Diablo Pointe Apartments and found Banta armed with a knife. Grainger said the girlfriend of Banta's roommate had called 911 and told dispatchers that Banta was assaulting her boyfriend.


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Police have not released any details of the shooting, other than Banta was armed and officers were forced to shoot.

Grainger said a medical crisis or mental breakdown may have precipitated the confrontation with the roommate. But Marvin Banta was not so sure.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "I have no clue."

The owner of Salonamour, Michael Falcon, said he organized the vigil to start the healing process for Banta's friends and co-workers. He hoped it would help the family as well.

"We're hoping they'll be able to get a glimpse of the life their son had led," Falcon said.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.