OAKLAND -- Just one day after a young father and his sleeping baby were gunned down in a Brookfield Village home, family members gathered to grieve for the pair -- two of four relatives fatally shot this summer in East Oakland.
Tears rolled down Melvin Johnson's cheeks Thursday morning as he stood by a memorial for his son Andrew "Drew" Thomas, 20, and grandson Drew Jackson, 16 months old. Both were fatally shot Wednesday by someone who fired into the rear of a home on Ghormley Avenue at 2:46 a.m.
"I moved him up to Fresno because I didn't want to go through this," Johnson said, pointing to a collage of posters and photos, surrounded by flowers and candles, on the fence of a small gated complex off MacArthur Boulevard.
On a poster, Melvin Johnson wrote in orange ink: "A part of my heart is now up above and daddy and grandpa will be there one day."
Police had no suspects or information on a possible motive as of Thursday.
Family and friends called Andrew Thomas a proud father and a good son, who loved his baby and spending time with his father. He loved video games, football and fast cars -- especially his father's 1972 burnt-orange Chevy Impala, Melvin Johnson said.
"He always wanted to drive it," said his father. "I never let him."
Thomas, the eldest of Johnson's six children, was preparing to return to school in Fresno and wanted to be just like his father, whom friends called a jack of all trades. Johnson works on cars and installs sound systems.
One of Thomas' uncles, Julius Johnson, said that the 20-year-old former Castlemont student wanted to leave Oakland. "I think he just wanted to get out."
Relatives described the little boy, Drew, as a happy baby. The 16-month-old was Thomas' only child, his aunt Konya Baylis said. "He loved to play. He loved to be with his dad."
Family members said that a public memorial service would be held, but a date had not been set Thursday.
Thomas grew up in Oakland but had moved with his mother to Fresno and was preparing to relocate again to Sacramento, family members said. He was in town over the weekend for a birthday party and was staying with his aunt along with other relatives.
Baylis said officers told her they believed the shooting of the father and baby at the home on Ghormley Avenue was connected to the death of their cousin, Alquino Rivera, who was shot over the weekend while sitting in a car in the 8000 block of Ney Avenue. After Rivera was shot, Thomas and other relatives from out of town decided to stay on to prepare for the funeral.
Six-time felon Kendell Eatmon, 33, of Oakland, has been charged in Rivera's death, officials said Wednesday. However, police have not said if there is any connection between Rivera's slaying and the double homicide on Wednesday.
In addition to those three slain family members, Johnson said that another relative had been gunned down about two months ago in that same area.
Christopher A. Lander, 30, was killed June 3 after someone opened fire on a van in East Oakland. The shooting happened about 11:20 p.m. in the 400 block of Darien Avenue.
Someone outside the van opened fire, hitting both Lander, who was a passenger, and another woman inside. The van continued on, eventually crashing into a power pole a short distance away at Ghormley Avenue and Maddux Drive.
Lander was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police don't have a motive yet for the shooting and no arrests have been made.
Staff writers Matthew Artz and Harry Harris contributed to this report. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.