In life, Rene Garcia’s youthful good looks and rugged raps made for a compelling persona, one that played out in several slickly-produced rap videos that netted thousands of clicks on YouTube.com.
On Wednesday, the Facebook page for his rapping name, “Lil G,” was a memorial wall, flooded with odes and rumors of the circumstances surrounding his death.
That night two teens mourned Garcia, a 25-year-old resident of Pinole, near the spot of his slaying, marked by a circle of melted white candles in the grass at Shields-Reid Park in North Richmond.
“I just want to know what happened,” said a teen boy, who declined to give his name. “I want to know why.”
Garcia was shot and killed Tuesday in the park Tuesday night, Richmond Police Captain Mark Gagan said.
“Two men walked up and shot the victim in the grassy area near the basketball courts,” Gagan said. Gagan added that Richmond police officers have conferred with various agencies, including county district attorney and sheriffs offices, which cover nearby jurisdictions in the North Richmond area where Shields-Reid Par sits. No suspects have been identified.
The city’s ShotSpotter audio detection system recorded about 20 gunshots around 6:52 p.m.
The melted candles were lit in memory of Garcia by friends and family on Wednesday, teens at the site said that night. Flowers and balloons hung from a chain-link fence a few paces away, bordering the basketball courts.
The killing is the fourth homicide in Richmond this year, and the first in the North Richmond neighborhood.
On Facebook, people speculated about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Garcia’s large circle of friends included Richmond Rockets star basketball player Tita Davis, who on Tuesday expressed his own grief.
“Man one of my best friends life was just taken tonight,” Davis wrote. “He was like my little brother LIL G RIP you will always be missed love you bro.”
Teens at the park Wednesday said Garcia was with a female companion when his assailants shot him. Police had no comment about possible motive.
Some of Garcia’s videos were shot in North Richmond, featuring prominent neighborhood landmarks.
Police ask anyone with information to call Detective Tim Gard at 510-965-4906.