HAYWARD -- Maurice Collins was killed as he lay in bed next to his longtime girlfriend late Tuesday night, after an intruder climbed a tree to get into his second-floor apartment, kicked open his bedroom door and shot him in the head.
Collins' girlfriend -- who is not being identified -- said multiple shots were fired, nearly simultaneously. One of the shots struck Collins, 28, while another bullet ended up in the ceiling above his head. The woman believes Collins got off a shot from a handgun he kept near the bed for protection.
"It all happened so fast, and no one said a word," she said. "I didn't see anything. By the time I was up, nobody was there -- it doesn't seem real."
Police did not have any suspects.
It was one of two shootings that occurred Tuesday near the Hayward-Union City border, apparently unrelated.
On Wednesday afternoon, a day after the shooting, as Collins' girlfriend prepared to enter the Vanderbilt Street apartment with two of his relatives, she broke down upon seeing a large, dark stain on the porch.
"That's him right there," she wailed. "That's his blood all over the ground!"
The two had been dating since the summer of 2006 and moved into the one-bedroom apartment off Alquire Parkway on the south side of town in October 2007.
Collins' girlfriend said they'd never had any problems at the large complex, although there had been some recent burglaries and a gunpoint robbery nearby -- enough trouble for Collins to buy the handgun.
But Collins' girlfriend added that he had no known enemies, and that "everybody loved (Maurice)."
"Everyone wanted to be him, or they wanted to be friends with him," she said.
"He was the most lovable guy," said his mother, Shirley Jackson, of Concord. "He would never forget a birthday, or Mother's Day. That tells you what kind of son he was."
Jackson added that he was a "good-looking man who liked nice things, and took pride in looking nice, and there's nothing wrong with that."
However, they spoke of the possibility that someone may have seen some of Collins' nice things -- jewelry, or maybe his Mercedes -- and became jealous.
The family learned that the killer or killers climbed a tree behind the apartment building and gained access to the second-floor balcony about 11:40 p.m.
The sliding glass door to the living room was opened, and nothing appeared to be disturbed or rifled through before the bedroom door was kicked open, although mud was tracked through the apartment.
Collins, 28, was a graduate of El Cerrito High School who moved to Hayward from Richmond because of the violence in that town. His father, also named Maurice Collins, was slain in an unsolved Richmond homicide in 2005.
He was described as an entrepreneur with an ear for music.
"He was trying to become a rapper," said his sister, Tiana Jackson, of Alameda. "He had a CD out."
"And he was good," his girlfriend added.
They said it appears Collins was targeted because "it took a lot of trouble to get in," and once the killer was there, they went directly to the bedroom. Police said they do not believe it was a random crime.
"They kicked down the door and shot him in the head, assassinated him," said Shirley Jackson. "My son was assassinated."
Collins was the first homicide victim of the year for Hayward. Last year ended with 12.
Meanwhile, two men suffered injuries -- one life-threatening -- after gunfire erupted in the Parkway Green apartment complex on Medallion Drive in Union City about 6 p. m. Tuesday.
One victim was in critical condition at an East Bay hospital after being shot multiple times, Union City police Lt. Ben Horner said. The other victim, who suffered minor injuries from a gunshot to his leg, was released from the hospital after receiving treatment, police said.
No arrests have been made but police believe three men fled the area immediately after the shooting.
Police said the incident began with a meeting arranged between the victims and the men in order for one group to sell jewelry to the other.
"Something apparently escalated into some sort of confrontation, and the shooting occurred from there," Horner said.
Moments after the shooting, the victim with life-threatening injuries was being driven to the hospital by a friend when they flagged down a passing California Highway Patrol officer outside a Target store less than a mile from the shooting.
Authorities found the second victim at Phil's Auto Service, about two blocks from the crime scene.
Anyone with information in the Hayward homicide may call police at 510-293-7000. Union City police can be reached at 510-471-1365.
Staff writer Chris DeBenedetti contributed to this report. Contact Eric Kurhi at 510-293-2473. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.