OAKLAND -- Isaac, age 19.
Byron, age 46.
Nobuko, age 68.
And so it went. One hundred and thirty one names in all, called out by Luis Caudros, a parishioner at St. Columba Catholic Church in North Oakland, where a stark white cross planted on the grounds commemorates each of the dead.
Caudros is the man who sunk each wooden cross into the ground in 2012 to mark every person murdered in the city.
On Monday afternoon, he called the names of the dead and pulled each cross from the damp soil. He passed each cross to a waiting relative or friend. If no one who knew the victim was there to accept the cross, a church parishioner held it to the end of the reading.
And then brief, but powerful words from church pastor Rev. Aidan McAleenan.
"Let us pray that this holy ground will have (fewer) crosses next year," McAleenan said.
Each year since 2004, the church on San Pablo Boulevard at Alcatraz Avenue has displayed the white crosses, each inscribed with a homicide victim's name, age and date of death. The annual gathering is an interfaith event that draws those from within and outside the parish, and relatives of the victims, city leaders and police.
"We are here to mark a number: 131," said Rabbi David J. Cooper of the Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland. "When a single homicide happens we have experienced a ripple of tragedy throughout our (community)," he said.
This was a particularly bloody year for Oakland, which saw its highest homicide tally since 2006, when 148 people were killed. The most recent homicide was Sunday, when 15-year-old Jubrille Jordan was gunned down while walking with friends.
"Sadly, I am familiar with each and every one of your situations," Police Chief Howard Jordan told the 200 people at the church.
Oakland teenager Albert Pearson, 15, was among the attendees. His older brother DeMariae Clay, 25, was shot and killed Aug. 16 while in his car at the KFC fast food restaurant drive-through at 73rd Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland.
"When this happened it was devastating," the teen said. "We don't want to say it but (he) became a statistic."
Anthony Paige, 27, was charged with killing Clay and wounding Clay's girlfriend and is awaiting trial.
Despite the deep sadness, there was a wish for 2013.
"Even in the midst of the violence and the horror and trauma we choose to hold onto our hope," said Marian Castelluccio of Catholic Charities of the East Bay, which helped organize the event. "We hold the hope that someday we will gather here and there won't be any crosses."
For a first time, the church also put up a cross for killings outside of Oakland. One large cross held the 28 names of those killed in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre in December. Those names were read after those of Oakland's 131 victims.