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No cold case: Mother keeps memory of murdered son alive in San Francisco

Mother keeps memory of murdered son alive in San Francisco
Mother keeps memory of murdered son alive in San Francisco 04:13

SAN FRANCISCO -- On Monday, August 14th, Paulette Brown took a walk that is never easy to make. But it's one she has made for 17 years and will continue to make, until her she gets justice for her son.

"The grief never ends. The pain never ends," she said. "It was just like yesterday to me."

On August 14, 2006, her son Aubrey Abrakasa was shot and killed at the intersection of Baker and Grove in San Francisco. The case remains an unsolved homicide.

"I miss him so much," she said.

She routinely puts up a crime bulletin at the intersection with Aubrey's picture on it and a notice for a $250,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for his murder. She remains hopeful that someone will come forward with information police need to crack the case.

"My love for my son is driving me to keep pushing for justice. I need justice. I need some closure, which I have none right now," she said.

Closure, for an act of senseless gun violence, that cut an innocent young man's life short.

"We're losing our children. My son should have been burying me, not me burying him," she said. "No one has the right to pick a gun up and take someone else's life - an innocent life."

Brown is far from alone in her grief and pursuit for justice.

From 2014-2022, there have been around 12,800 gun homicides in California, including 2,374 across the nine Bay Area Counties, according to data from the Hope and Heal Fund, a fund collaborative that seeks to invest in a public health, racial equity, and community-based approach to preventing gun violence in the state.

"This is a significant public health issue and public safety issue in this country," said Refujio "Cuco" Rodriguez, the chief strategist and chief equity officer for the Hope and Heal Fund.

In collaboration with Kaiser Permanente, his team just launched an interactive map that shows where and when gun-related homicides have occurred in California communities.

"This has been, at least in my community since I was a young person, an issue that folks and systems have not addressed. I really try to do my best to contribute to some solutions," he said. "We utilized information from the Gun Violence Archives - they collect data based on news reporting - and we validated that with CDC data to make sure we were pretty much on point."

Previously, the data wasn't easily accessible. Rodriguez hopes the map will improve transparency and serve as a tool for people to see a real picture of how gun violence affects their community, in order to help spur solutions.

"That data should be available. I think communities can then make decisions on how they want to address this," he said. "The club or this group of people who are survivors impacted by gun violence is growing. That should not be something that we should be okay with."

To mark 17 years since Abrakasa's murder, community members, leaders from SFPD and the sheriff's office, as well as the District 5 supervisor, joined Brown to honor his memory, keep the investigation in the public eye and to come together as a community in search of solutions.

"These murders need to stop. It needs to stop. It's going to take us to do it," Brown said. "It's not just about my son - it's about every child."

Brown hopes others impacted by gun violence and those who are still waiting for justice like she is, can stand together, empower one another, and never give up.

"Let's bring awareness to our children who are dying. I am my son's voice now," she said. "We can all stand together and bring awareness to all of the unsolved homicides. Not just on the day - the anniversary - but every day."

SFPD Chief Bill Scott was there for the event, and assured Brown and other families that the department won't give up on solving their cases.

"We will never give up on these cases," Scott said. "I know we don't solve all of them. But for those people who've lost their loved ones - we will never give up on these cases."

While it's been 17 years since the homicide occurred, the case is still being actively investigated by SFPD's cold case unit, according to investigator Dominic Celaya.

"Interviews are being conducted, as recently as December. We're analyzing those pieces of evidence, but we need more, to be quite frank," Celaya said.

Brown's pain is still present. But what's more apparent, is her love for her son.

"I know he's looking down and saying, 'Mom, I'm so proud of you mom. Keep doing what you're doing. But stay happy, take care of yourself, Mom,'" she said.

Anyone with information about this case, or any other homicide, is urged to contact SFPD's Homicide Detail. You can also call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411, beginning the text with SFPD.

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