SAN LEANDRO -- When 19-year-old Mark Espinal was fatally shot in the driveway of his Ashland home, police were unable to determine who pulled the trigger -- even though they believe a handful of people witnessed the crime.
Nearly a decade later, police have lost the trail of any major leads and Espinal's family continues to plead for justice in his Feb. 3, 2004 slaying. Both parties gathered Monday afternoon at the spot where he took his last breath to hand out fliers in hopes of finding the shooter.
Espinal's family, friends and officials from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office met on the corner of 167th and East 14th Street, in the Ashland neighborhood of unincorporated Alameda County near San Leandro, to distribute the fliers to the community. A balloon release in his memory also took place.
"Our hope is to keep the community aware of this tragedy and to again encourage anyone with information regarding this investigation to call our office," Sgt. Dave Dickson said.
At 12:18 a.m. on the day of Espinal's death, deputies responded to a report of shots being fired near the 1500 block of 167th Avenue. When they arrived they found Espinal lying in the driveway of his home suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The night he was killed, Espinal had returned home with four friends. As he pulled into his driveway, two men came up to the car. It is not clear what took place next, but one of the men shot Espinal several times. The four people with Espinal ran from the scene.
Within the first 72 hours, police took statements from the witnesses in which they said the shooter was someone who had been selling drugs in the neighborhood. But as the investigation progressed, witness cooperation died out, investigators say.
Anyone with information about the fatal shooting is ask to call the Sheriff's Office at 510-667-7721 or its anonymous tip line: 510-667-3622
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.