OAKLAND -- Rayven Justice was wounded in the back while serving with the Army in Vietnam.
The pain was severe, he said, but not as severe as what he felt Tuesday evening when his 17-year-old son, Raymen, was shot to death a block from their East Oakland home.
Raymen, a junior at Life Academy who told his father his goal was to counsel and help people, was shot about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 1200 block of MacArthur Boulevard after getting into an argument with another person.
He died minutes later at Highland Hospital. Sgt. Alex Perez said police don't have a motive and no arrests have been made.
"I haven't ever felt this kind of pain," the 58-year-old Justice said Wednesday while surrounded by relatives and his son's friends inside their apartment.
He said his son, the youngest of his five children, was on his way home and called him to say he had a headache and asked if they had any aspirin.
"I told him yes. Come home and I'll take care of you. But he never made it here. He got murdered. I don't know why he was shot. It was the coldest day in my life," Justice said.
School officials said Raymen was a better-than-average student and his father said he transferred to Life Academy this year from Oakland High because the classes were more oriented to what he wanted to do with his life. He said his son's "mission" was "to become someone who could help people, like a politician or counselor. He was always trying to help his peers, his comrades."
His favorite subjects were math, science and English and he was also an outstanding athlete who especially enjoyed basketball and football. There were grief counselors at both campuses Wednesday.
Preston Thomas, principal at the 250 student Life Academy on 35th Avenue, said, "We were really excited about the direction (Raymen) was going. He was really trying to make some strides, to do something. He really was a sweet kid."
Thomas said Raymen's death had an impact on the entire campus. "Even though he was new to the school, it was pretty touching to see how deeply he was loved by the students."
One of Raymen's best friends, 17-year-old Tino, an Oakland High student who did not want his last name used, was one of the mourners at the family's apartment. "We were like brothers. He was the smartest man I knew and he had superstar kind of energy. He was supposed to shine. He could have been a role model."
Justice said he raised his son alone and they were especially close. "He was always helping around the house. What I remember the most about him was him always smiling and saying, 'I love you dad' and 'I'm going to be the best that I can be.' "
Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Anyone with information can call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.