OAKLAND (KPIX) -- A 43-year-old repossession agent from Auburn was killed Monday in Oakland while working on assignment. Family and friends described Tim Nielsen, a father to four, as their rock and their hero.
"This is a man that I can say gave unconditional love to everyone and all he ever wanted to do was help people. That was his dream, his purpose in life," said Jennifer Huff-Wensmann, the victim's girlfriend.
Huff-Wensmann said she and her children are having a hard time processing the loss.
"We are going back and forth through stages of grief, from acceptance to denial back to shock to just bargaining -- 'please God, bring him back,'" said Huff-Wensmann.
The Auburn man worked for Any Capital Recovery Inc, based in the Sacramento area. His boss and good friend Lerron Payne said Nielsen came to Oakland Monday morning for an assignment.
"He wasn't even hooking a car -- and everybody in the industry will know what I mean when I say he was not even hooking a car. Everything went south. It's a rough industry, don't get me wrong but this is pretty much the extreme," Payne said.
Payne said someone shot Nielsen near the intersection of International Boulevard and 20th Avenue while he was writing a report in his truck. Nielsen managed to drive away but crashed his tow truck two blocks away at the corner of East 12th Street and 19th Avenue.
"Whatever he was, whatever he is and whatever he could be, (the killer) took it all away. Same thing with his children, (the killer) took their hero away. The family doesn't have a hero anymore because he's now dead for no reason," Payne said.
Payne described Nielsen as polite, generous and a hard worker. They were friends even before Nielsen came to work for him. Payne said Nielsen had only worked in the repossession industry for about a year.
Nielsen and Huff-Wennsman shared care of four children and he treated all of them as his own and even though Huff-Wensman said she had always viewed him as her husband, friends said he was about to make that official.
"A date was not set but he was just getting the ring sized to propose to her," said Nielsen's close friend Raul Running Bear Salazar.
Huff-Wensmann found the engagement ring and, after losing both of her parents last year, she now must to bury the love of her life. She implores anyone with information to come forward.
"There is nothing that justifies what happened to him so please help us, help us understand," Huff-Wensmann sobbed.
Oakland police said no one has been arrested in the case. They are looking at all possibilities, from a random attack to the possibility it was related to a repo assignment.
Oakland police said the city has 59 homicides so far this year.
Payne and Salazar said the funeral will be next Friday in Auburn and have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family and the kids.
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