OAKLAND -- The terrifying explosions had just ended when Cynthia Montiel decided to look out her car window toward the area on International Boulevard, just feet away, where she heard the gunfire.
Montiel, 22, saw a woman hysterically crying and yelling in Spanish, "My son was shot! My son was shot!"
After checking to make sure her niece and friend who were sitting in her car were not hurt, Montiel got out and ran toward the woman.
"I remember it like the back of my hand," Montiel testified in court Tuesday. "The baby was still alive and he was looking like, 'What happened?' and then I seen a little hole in the side of his neck."
Out of the hole flowed the blood of 3-year-old Carlos Nava, shot dead, police say, by two gangsters who were trying to gun down rivals who were walking next to Nava, his mother and his older brother along the 6400 block of International Boulevard on the sunny afternoon of Aug. 8, 2011.
"His mom was just out of control, his little brother was crying and he was just holding my hand," Montiel said as she began to cry. "The body started to fall asleep, he was choking on his own blood.
"I told him to hold on, he was trying so much, he was holding my hand and then he just closed his eyes and his body changed color. It got pale," Montiel said.
Montiel's description of Nava's death came on the first day of what will likely be a three-day preliminary hearing of evidence against suspected gang members Lawrence Denard, 28, and Willie Torrence, 24. Both are accused of, among other felonies, one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
In addition to killing Nava, the two Oakland men are accused of attempting to kill the alleged rivals who were walking near the Nava family about 1 p.m. that day.
Montiel described the scene after the shooting, as Nava's mother frantically sought help and dozens of neighborhood residents ran to the scene to find out what was going on.
Montiel said the final moments of Nava's life will be a haunting memory that she will never forget. She said she held the boy in an effort to comfort him as he struggled to hang on to his life.
"I seen him kind of collapsing and I knew he was not going to make it," she said. "I didn't tell the mother that her child was dead. She was hysterical."
Montiel said she couldn't identify the shooters, but said she remembers seeing a gray car with two black men inside slowly approach the shooting scene just seconds before the gunfire erupted. Police said Torrence was driving that car and Denard was in the passenger seat, shooting a gun.
The target of Denard's alleged gunfire, who was also shot, ¿testified Tuesday about an interview he gave with police a month after the shooting, when he said a man by the name of "Laylow" shot him.
While Robert Hudson, 39, denied that he ever identified Denard as the shooter, deputy district attorney Ben Beltramo played an audio recording of his interview in which it seemed that he said Denard was the shooter.
The man said he believes the shooters were targeting a friend he was with and that the shooting was a result of a long-standing feud between drug dealers who live near 65th Avenue and drug dealers who live in 69th Avenue.
It was a fight that escalated on the Internet, Hudson said, through rap videos and YouTube threats.
"It's an Internet funk that they bringing to the real life," Hudson said.