Last Friday, I put what I thought would be the finishing touches on a story about all of the Oakland students who have been shot and killed since January 2009. But by Sunday morning, the piece was already one tragedy short of complete.
Eric Toscano, a Skyline High School senior who played on the football team, was celebrating his 18th birthday at home on Saturday night when bullets flew from a passing car. He died at Highland Hospital a few hours later, on Sunday morning. Three other teens were wounded. Toscano planned to go to college in the fall; his coach, Jamaal Kizziee, told me about the day he came by with news of his first acceptance letter.
The story was heartbreaking – and covering it, during a full-blown celebration of Oakland, was surreal: Waking up to news of the tragedy, a family in crisis, and then walking up Piedmont Avenue to catch Mile 2 of the Marathon. Cheering on friends and strangers as they approached Lake Merritt, amid an upwelling of Oakland pride, and then driving across town to the scene of a fatal shooting. Seeing those familiar expressions of shock and grief. Another young life, gone.
If anyone has a photo of Eric, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.