While made in connection to the shooting murder of a young teenager in 2010 are a step toward closure for the victim's families, loved ones are far from celebrating.
The mother of Samuel Nava III said she felt a “pleasant sadness,” when she heard arrests had been made in her son’s nearly two-year-old murder case.
“I was happy because the people [suspected to be] responsible for my son’s death have been apprehended but sad because it won’t bring my son back to earth,” said Nava, who attended Monday’s hearing with relatives.
“When the verdict is read and they’re convicted, I think I might be able to continue living,” she said. “It’s just been horrific.”
On May 3, 2010 at about 6:45 p.m., Samuel, who was 17 at the time, was shot and killed while riding in a car in Hayward. He was in the backseat of a vehicle, which was making a U-turn from northbound Mission Boulevard to southbound Mission Boulevard at the intersection of Industrial Parkway when a shooter standing on the center median opened fire, police said.
Sarita Nava said her son was a backseat passenger when the driver of the car thought he recognized someone as they were passing Stonybrook Park.
While details are hazy, Sarita Nava said there was an argument between the driver of the car Nava was in and two individuals, who authorities say are Robert Yim and Veronica Rodriguez. When Samuel Nava’s friends saw Yim pull out a gun, they drove off but Yim caught up to them on foot at a red light and fired his weapon, hitting Samuel, Sarita Nava said.
Police found Nava about a mile south of that location, and he was rushed to in Castro Valley where he died.
Samuel, who was born in Castro Valley but later moved to Hayward, had a bright future ahead of him, relatives said.
“He was a wonderful young boy,” Sarita Nava said. “He had a character like no one else.”
Family members described Samuel as a compassionate, charismatic and charming young man with the ability to make anyone laugh. He was also an outgoing sports fanatic who played basketball, baseball, soccer, ran track and wrestled.
“In his 17 years, he lived a fuller life than most adults do in their complete livelihoods,” Sarita Nava said. “He touched so many hearts, so many lives in so many ways.”
Samuel's sister, Nicolette, was just a year older than him when his life was taken. Though he was younger, she said Samuel was very protective of her and the two would spend as much time together as possible.
“He was really big on family and loyalty. That was something that was close to him,” Nicolette Nava, now 20, said.
The two would play sports and watch college basketball games at St. Mary’s College — the school Nicolette Nava now attends in her brother’s honor because he had intended to enroll in the private university located in Moraga. The day before his death, the two baptized their godson.
Nicolette Nava was struck hard by the loss of her brother but said she tries not to let her emotions get the best of her.
“All we want is for whoever did this to be off the streets,” she said. “However long this whole process takes, it doesn’t even matter because at the end of the day, they’re not on the streets anymore and can’t hurt anybody else.”
Bay City News Service contributed to this report.