Photo: Christopher Furlong
Photo: Christopher Furlong

Father of 4 killed by stray bullet while waiting for ride home

Chrystian Valdez Negrete, 40, of Oakland, was struck by a stray bullet around 2 a.m. Saturday in the 4400 block of International Boulevard, The East Bay Times reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police officials told the Times that the 36-year-old man who was the intended target of the gunfire was also wounded, but survived. Investigators said Valdez Negrete and the other man did not know one another, but both had been in a nearby nightclub before the shooting.

Co-workers at Bay Area Beverage Co., in Richmond, were shocked to learn what happened to Valdez Negrete, who they described as a hardworking, beloved employee. 

“His attendance was always perfect. He was a hard worker, he was great,” said one co-worker, who the Times said asked to remain anonymous. “This is a tight community. Everyone is really close. We’re all still pretty upset.”

Valdez Negrete worked for the company for the past 16 years, according to KTVU in Oakland

Bay Area Beverage President TJ Louderback told the news station that Valdez Negrete leaves behind a wife and four children, ages 17 to 6. His oldest daughter is in Mexico, and the family had hoped to bring her to the U.S.

“He was the primary breadwinner,” Louderback told KTVU. “He was a very good father. He kind of took care of everything, it sounds like, within the family.”

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The company has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Valdez Negrete’s family. His wife, Maria, described him on the page as “the rock of the family.”

“He just kept us all together,” the widow said. 

She said the children would have a hard time growing up without their father. Her goal is to keep their lives as normal as she can and to help them focus on school so they can someday go to college. 

KTVU reported that Louderback and other officials are working with Crime Stoppers of Oakland to double the reward being offered for information leading to an arrest. 

“As part of his extended family we are taking it upon ourselves to show the Valdez family that Chrystian was an important part of our team and that he, and they, matter,” the GoFundMe page said. “Amongst other things, we have started this fundraiser to support Chrystian's wife and children. Bay Area Beverage will match all employee/supplier contributions up to $10,000.

“We are also contributing significant financial resources in the form of a reward to help find Chrystian's killer.” 

As of Thursday morning, the fundraising page had raised just over $2,200 of its $30,000 goal. 

The Times reported that the Crime Stoppers reward is currently $15,000. Anyone with information is asked to call Oakland police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.

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