San Pablo Woman Arrested, Accused Of Shooting, Killing Teen In Fairfield
FAIRFIELD (CBS13) - A Bay Area woman has been arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a teenager during what appears to be a vehicle sale gone wrong.
On Thursday just after noon, Fairfield Police Dispatch received a call of a man down in the 1000 block of Tyler Street. Fairfield Police and Fire went to the address and found a 19-year-old suffering male who had been shot, according to a police department statement.
The next day, following their investigation, police arrested Kamaria Strange, 24, of San Pablo. She was booked into the Solano County Jail on the charge of homicide. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.
The parents of the victim identified him to CBS13 as Michael Vincent Lopretta. His parents say Michael had saved his money to buy a car. He responded to a cash-for-car sale in Fairfield that was posted on OfferUp, and when he arrived at the meeting place, he was robbed and shot, say police.
"We're still trying to figure out why there why that particular location, because it's a really busy little neighborhood. It didn't make any sense as to why there, but never really makes sense," said Mike Lopretta, Lopretta's father.
His mother, Jessica, said he was excited about buying the car. Lopretta regularly bought and flipped cars, so this sale was nothing new. He did his research, according to his family, and saved his money for two years to afford the $9,000 price tag on the listing. The car was a 2013 black BMW 528, and it was the most expensive car Lopretta had ever bought to flip.
"He loved it. There was a thrill of showing up with a car," said Jessica Treat, Lopretta's mother.
She said he met with the seller, identified in the OfferUp listing shared with CBS13 by Treat, as Kamaria Strange, the day before police say Strange shot and killed him.
"He had said that he went out there the day before to go look at the car and that they were totally friendly to him," said Treat.
Lopretta graduated from Benicia High School in June and had a plan for what came next. He was going to buy a new car, save money to get a place with his girlfriend and work towards becoming a history teacher. It was a career choice, Treat said, was particularly special to him.
"He said he wanted to go be a history teacher because he could relate to the kids who are going to struggle because sometimes he struggled in classes, too, not because he wasn't smart," said Treat, "He had his mind on other things. He wanted to go sell his shoes or go flip a car or go hang out with his friends and go take his girlfriend to the movies and go to the beach and check out what's [on] ESPN because he loves the Giants."
Lopretta's last conversation with his mom was about long-time Giants catcher Buster Posey's retirement. Before he left the house Thursday to buy the vehicle, they talked about Posey's retirement announcement and how it marked the end of an era for Lopretta, who remembered Posey's rookie season when he was a kid.
His father added he loved all sports and could recite any sports-related statistic, especially about the Raiders, too.
These details, and stories of Lopretta, are happy ones his family said, but they add it isn't easy and the reality of what has happened is still sinking in.
"It was fun to hear because he was really excited and he had a plan. And you talked to him a year and a half ago, and he was still kind of a kid. And you talked to him three or four months ago and he could see where he was transitioning to his future," said his father, Mike.
Mike said he and Lopretta's 'bonus-mom', Michele, went to Tyler St. where Lopretta was found. While there, he said they met a neighbor who found Lopretta and called 911. The same neighbor spoke to CBS13 and said when she found him, he was alone, and she prayed over him until the police arrived.
"Even though there wasn't a lot to share, it was still nice to hear what it was like from somebody that had their last moments with him," said Mike.
Lopretta's family said his friends are planning a vigil in his honor at First Street Park in Benicia.
Police are not releasing any further information.
The Fairfield Police Department reminds residents they offer a Safe Exchange Zone for residents to make online purchases and exchange transactions in a monitored area. The Safe Exchange Zone is in the parking adjacent to the Police Station on Kentucky and Jackson. There are two designated parking spaces under 24-hour surveillance.
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