OAKLAND — A Skyline High School senior enjoying a belated celebration of his 18th birthday was fatally wounded Saturday night in a drive-by shooting outside his East Oakland home and three other men were wounded, police said.
Eric Toscano was shot about 10:35 p.m. Saturday in the 7800 block of Ney Avenue, police said. He died at Highland Hospital at 1:21 a.m. Sunday.
The three other victims, ages 19, 18 and 17, suffered minor wounds to their feet, arms and back, police said. They were being treated at a hospital. Their names were not released.
Police said they cannot rule out the possibility the shooting was gang-related, but they added that is no evidence to indicate that Toscano was a gang member.
Police said Toscano had turned 18 on March 13 and about 30 people were attending a belated birthday party at his home.
Sgt. Sean Fleming said that Toscano, the three teens also shot and others were outside the home when a car drove by and someone inside the vehicle opened fire on them. No arrests have been made.
Toscano played defensive line for Skyline's football team. He had been sidelined by several injuries, including a broken arm, but he had trained hard and determined to play, said his coach, Jamaal Kizziee.
Kizziee said Toscano would regularly drop in to his office to check in and tell him about his progress in school. One day, he recalled, Toscano came with some exciting news: He had just been accepted to college.
But about 11 p.m. Saturday night, Kizziee's phone rang. It was one of his players, someone who had been at Toscano's birthday party. Ever since, Kizziee said, he had been trying to help the team cope with shock and grief.
"They're devastated," he said. "This is going to be an uphill battle, to recover from this."
In an anonymous e-mail to Bay Area News Group, one of his classmates wrote: "To see his name on my friends' Facebook statuses with 'RIP' makes me feel extremely sad. It makes me sad because a mother and father just lost their son. Our graduating class of 2010 lost a student. But what his friends and I have not lost is his spirit or his presence. His memory will forever live in all of our hearts whether we knew him or not."
On Sunday afternoon, Toscano's father sat with family members on the front porch of the Ney Avenue house. He simply shook his head when his brother asked if he was ready to talk to a reporter about his son. His eyes were red and full of tears.
Down the street, a neighbor and longtime family friend called out from her yard to see if the family was OK; she knew there had been a shooting. When she heard the news of the teenager's death, she clutched the iron bars of her front gate. "Oh, no," she said, over and over. "They were such a great family. Oh my God."
Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering as much as $25,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information can call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.