The shouts of playing children rang out on a sunny afternoon in La Moine Valley View Park on the Richmond-El Sobrante border earlier this week. Melissa Sousa and Shelby Ferguson sat in the grass by a makeshift memorial marking the spot where their friend of seven years, 21-year-old Eric Brown of Richmond, was fatally shot on Monday night.
“It’s so sad to be sitting here and knowing everyone else goes on, but he doesn’t,” said Ferguson as she gazed out at the park.
At around 10:50 p.m. on Monday, Richmond Police responded to calls about shots fired at the park.
Lieutenant Felix Tan of the Richmond Police said in a statement released Tuesday that officers found two victims suffering gunshot wounds: Brown, who died at the scene, and a 19-year-old male from Rodeo, who Tan said is recovering from wounds to his lower extremities.
On Tuesday, Richmond Police arrested three suspects in connection with the shooting, all young men from Richmond and San Pablo, said Tan in a separate statement released Thursday.
The investigation revealed that this was “an isolated incident” and “a case of a narcotics transaction gone awry,” said Tan, adding that all three suspects were charged with murder and robbery.
Brown’s death is the 22nd homicide of the year in Richmond, surpassing last year’s total of 21.
At the park, Sousa, who attended middle school with Brown, described him as a joyful, caring person. “He could walk into a room and just light the whole room up,” she said. “If you ever needed somebody to talk to, he would always be there.”
Yards away from the swing set and jungle gym, mourners had piled flowers around a lamp post and placed candles that spelled out “RIP ERIC ♥” on the pathway.
“Even if they find the person who did it,” said Ferguson, “even if there’s justice, it doesn’t bring him back.”
Tan said the police department is “extremely proud” of the detectives and officers who identified the suspects.
“We hope that these arrests bring some closure and comfort to Eric Brown’s family,” he said.