RICHMOND -- A Richmond man was shot to death Sunday night in the city's Santa Fe neighborhood, and police are asking the public's help to find the killer.
Police said 33-year-old Samuel Morales was driving his vehicle at Harbour Way and Ohio Avenue about 5:30 p.m. when someone in another vehicle fired shots at his car. Morales was hit by the gunfire but continued to drive for three blocks until he crashed at Ohio Avenue and Seventh Street, Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said.
Morales died inside the car and was pronounced dead at the scene, Gagan said. Police originally said Morales was in his 20s but amended that when they released his identification.
The homicide was the 17th of the year in Richmond, a total that includes the March 14 killing of a San Pablo man at the Richmond BART station.
Police are investigating what may have sparked the shooting, but a motive does was not clear immediately, Gagan said. The location of the killing stood out, Gagan said, because violent crime has shown a significant decrease in south Richmond this year, particularly in the Santa Fe neighborhood, Gagan said.
"So when something like this happens, it gets our attention," he said. "You worry about whether there will be any retaliation or whether this will spark an ongoing back-and-forth. We just don't know yet."
About 20 friends gathered Tuesday afternoon at the corner of Ohio Avenue and Seventh Street to remember Morales. They remembered their friend as a humble man and a hard worker who valued family.
"He was the kind of guy who would always try to cheer you up," said Jesus Avalos, 16. "He was loved."
The gathering featured pictures of Morales, and a makeshift shrine with flowers and beer cans in front of the corner market. Police steadily circled; Ohio Avenue is a corridor notorious for drug sales and prostitution.
Friends said the shooting occurred just a few blocks from where Morales grew up. They said in recent years he had worked in construction and at auto tire shops.
Richmond police are offering $10,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter, Gagan said. Anyone with information on this shooting can call Richmond police Lt. Louie Tirona at 510-620-6613 or leave anonymous tips at 510-232-TIPS.
Staff writer Robert Rogers contributed to this story. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.