On Septemer 1, 2007 Tomas Melero-Smith was murdered by an Oakland gang member who mistook the young man as a gang rival, although 19-year-old Tomas was not in any way associated with gangs. "Melero-Smith was shot and killed about 7 p.m. that same day on the 2100 block of 94th Avenue in East Oakland. The gunman got out of a car and chased him up a driveway after he and his friends were asked what gang they belonged to, a neighbor said. The group responded that they weren't in a gang." 1
"Melero-Smith and two friends were together early Saturday evening after his shift manning a booth for the city's bicycle program at the weekend Art & Soul festival." 1 "It took only one moment to shoot Tomas Melero-Smith. In that flash of time, a promising 19-year-old community leader's future ended, leaving behind grieving family and friends to make sense of his death." 1
The same murderer gunned down and killed another man mistaken for a rival gang member earlier the same day; Allan Orlando Mejia, 22, in East Oakland, was a Honduran immigrant who had been in the US for four years working as a landscaper and employed as a foundry worker.
As a 'life legacy' to honor Tomas, his family, friends and members of the community established the Tomas Melero-Smith Park, located at 65th and International Boulevard in East Oakland. The public park was completed on February 7, 2008 with over 300 volunteers working together.
- Oakland Parks and Recreation official website
Gas station killing marks Oakland's 4th slaying in 4 days San Francisco Chronicle 2