'Find The Killers': Jasper Wu's Mother Makes Desperate Plea After Toddler Killed By Stray Bullet On Highway
FREMONT, Calif. (KPIX-TV) -- Fighting back tears, the mother of Jasper Wu, the little boy killed by a stray bullet during a freeway shootout on I-880 in Oakland over the weekend, called on the public to help "find the killers."
Jasper would have turned two years old next month. Instead of planning his birthday celebration, his mother, Cherry An, is now planning his funeral. "I don't know what to say. It just happened all of a sudden. I don't even know how to react to this tragedy," An said through an interpreter.
Oakland freeway shooting victim Jasper Wu (CBS)
Jasper was killed during a gun battle on Interstate 880 in Oakland on Saturday afternoon. He never got to meet his father, who lives and works in China. The two would talk by phone using FaceTime. "Jasper could recognize his father, would call, 'Daddy! Daddy!' He was such a good boy. He rarely cried," said An.
His father arrived from China at San Francisco Airport Monday night. The family says COVID traveling restrictions prevented them from seeing each other. Jasper's mother was driving southbound on I-880 Saturday with relatives in a white Lexus, headed to Fremont, where they live.
Three kids were in the back seat. The family said as they reached downtown Oakland, a single gun shot hit Jasper, who was in his car seat. He was rushed to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, where he died.
Jasper's grandmother talked about her grandson and remembered his smile. "He's such a sunny and open and active boy," the boy's grandmother said.
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei delivered flowers and condolences to Jasper's family Monday. She also made it very clear that this kind of violence must stop. "Such a tragedy in terms of the loss of a innocent life. We need people to stand up and say this is wrong," said Mei.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) gave a press conference regarding their investigation into the shooting late Monday afternoon. While they did not reveal any specifics about potential suspects, authorities did provide one important new detail. "The investigation led to evidence that the shots that were fired likely originated on the northbound side of Interstate 880 and randomly struck the victim's vehicle," said CHP Capt. Mike Lehman.
CHP did ask that anyone who was traveling in that area of Oakland on I-880 Saturday afternoon to check their dash camera video to see if they might have captured images related to the incident.
Lehman, in the recorded news conference Monday about the shooting, did not challenge a reporter's statement that there have been 76 shootings recorded on highways in Oakland in the past 12 months; but he insisted the public should feel safe driving on highways in the city.
When pressed by the same reporter about why people should feel safe given the statistics, Lehman said, "The reason you should feel safe are the chances of this happening are not high."
Jasper's mother issued her own heartfelt plea for justice. "I want to call on the public to help me find the killers," said An. "I don't want such a tragedy to happen to another person again."
Detectives have not released any suspect information or a motive. KPIX-TV in San Francisco learned that one suspect vehicle was a dark color Chrysler 300. The family is asking anyone who witnessed the shooting to call authorities immediately.
A vigil was held on an Oakland street corner at Market and 7th below the I-880 overpass where Jasper was fatally struck by the bullet. Mourners left candles, flowers, stuffed animals and candy there in the boy's memory.
The Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the family.
As of Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $72,000, doubling its $35,000 goal. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to please call the CHP investigation tip line at (707) 917-4491.
for more features.