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Friends Of Slain Student Describe Deadly Party

San Leandro High sophomore Leneasha Northington, 16, was one of three people shot dead Sunday outside a warehouse party. Friends, including one at the event, talk about the party scene, the shooting, their lives.

A photocopied picture of Leneasha Northington was taped to a bulletin board Monday at San Leandro High School where students mourned the 16-year-old, who was one of three people slain at a warehouse party over the weekend.

Police say at least two gunmen went on a shooting spree in the parking lot outside an unlicensed party in an industrial park on Alvarado Street around 1:15 a.m. Sunday.

The attack left . Police have of one man they would like to question in connection with the case.

San Leandro school officials realized Sunday that one of the deceased victims was a sophomore at the high school. When students arrived for class Monday, teachers shared the news about her death.

"Personally, I did not know her, but I've seen many of my friends cry today," said senior Kayla Ely. "Teachers tried to reach students and asked how they felt, rather than just pushing us off to the counselors."

At a memorial area on campus, students wrote notes on butcher paper taped to tables and walls.

Five of the students gathered around the memorial said they were friends of Northington, who they called "Muffin."

They didn't want their names published for fear they would get hurt.

"She really wanted to get her stuff together," said one of the four young women in the group. "She wanted to be a pediatrician."

With the four girls was a teenage boy who said he had been at the party Sunday night. He said he heard the shots but didn't see what happened.

He gave this version of events.

The party started about 9 p.m. in a warehouse that police have identified as belonging to C&M Trailer Rentals. It's a 2,000-square-foot rectangle-shaped building with a large steel garage door.

Dance events in such buildings are common, the students said. They are advertised on Facebook and other social media.

"They happen about every other week," said one young woman.

Most of these parties are dance events with a DJ playing hip-hop music.

Sunday night's party had a twist. It featured a tattoo artist but that seems to have had nothing to do with the shooting.

Police think about 100 people attended. The young man from San Leandro High guessed there were as many as 200 partygoers there.

"It was smackin'" he said, approvingly.

He said the event started breaking up after midnight. He had already left when he heard gunshots. He kept walking in the opposite direction.

"So many of my family members and partners have been shot," he said.

The students said they had heard that the trouble began when two men started arguing with one of the three shooting victims — 23-year-old Joshua Alford, an Oakland resident, according to media reports.

"Some boys were arguing, and I guess she (Northington) was in the way and she got shot," one girl said. "They were mad because they couldn't get into the party."

Now the students have lost a friend. It isn't their first, they said.

Around the table where they sat talking, the students ticked off the deaths they had experienced through the loss of friends or relatives in cities around the Bay Area.

"The first person I seen die was in the first grade," said the young man, who was the same age at the time. "He got robbed," added the young man, who didn't say where the shooting occurred. "He got shot in the head. He was delivering drugs."

Mia Ousley October 06, 2011 at 06:45 AM
Actually, the Public Information Officer is now Lt. Jeff Tudor of the SLPD. Kathy Ornelas is and has been a Community Relations liaison, but the SLPD is now the city's "public information" arm.
Marga Lacabe October 06, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I think Tudor is the public information officer /for/ the SLPD, but not for the city.
tracy duboise October 09, 2011 at 05:26 AM
Think back to when you where sixteen....the parents are not to blame. I personally know one of the parents and she is a very hardworking,loving,and caring friend. We only know what our children tell us...unless we have bodyguards following them around.god bless all the families affected by this tragedy. Let's put more energy into finding the killers. The parents are already going through hell.
Marga Lacabe October 09, 2011 at 05:39 AM
The rush to blame the parents, I think, is part of the rush to tell ourselves that this would never happen to /our/ kids. We need to tell ourselves that our kids would never be in the same situation which means we need to blame the victim. That can only go so far, however, because we don't quite trust our kids, and they're not that different from these kids after all, so we start blaming the parents. It's horrible, but it helps us from dealing with the fear of having this happen to our children.

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