Friends, family and neighbors paused in front of the Taqueria Vallarta on 24th Street on Sunday, where a makeshift memorial paid tribute to a 15-year-old boy who died there after being shot one block away Saturday night.
The boy, identified Sunday afternoon by the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office as Eddie Valdo, was remembered by friends as a friendly, gentle teenager. A sign, posted on a tree outside the taqueria, read “Edivaldo Sanchez, 1992-2007. RIP — Descansa en Paz.”
“He never got into fights with anybody — he was friends with everybody. It’s unbelievable,” said Luis Aguilar, whose younger brother was close friends with Valdo.
Valdo and a friend were standing on the corner at 24th and Harrison streets Saturday at approximately 8 p.m. when two Hispanic males pulled up in a gold or coffee-colored Honda Accord, according to San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens.
“The passenger leaned out the window and opened fire on the victim and his friend,” Gittens said. “They started running; [Valdo] collapsed at 24th and Balmy.” Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, a block north of Garfield Square.
Valdo’s friend, who has not been identified, was not hurt, according to Gittens.
Neither of the suspects has been apprehended, and police have few details regarding their description. Witnesses told police that both men appeared to be between 17 and 20 years of age. The 1990 Honda, with a license plate of 5JCF637, was reported stolen in the area, according to Gittens.
Although police do not know what motivated the attack, “we believe this is a gang-related incident, although [Valdo] is not a member of any gang,” Gittens said. There is no indication that Valdo knew his attacker, he added.
Valdo’s death capped a violent week in which six teenage boys were shot in two separate incidents in the Western Addition on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The injured boys were between the ages of 13 and 17, according to London Breed, executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex.
Valdo was interested in music, sports and spending time with his friends, according to Aguilar, who knew the boy for 10 years. He is survived by his mother and five siblings; his father died some years ago.
Such violence is not that common in that part of the Mission, according to employees at Taqueria Vallarta.
“It doesn’t really happen often here,” employee Maria Perez said.