Ernad Joldic first came to The City with his parents as a young child, escaping the violence of a conflict on the other side of the world.Almost two decades later, the Bosnian refugee succumbed to an entirely different type of violence, gunned down with his friend in the streets of San Francisco.
Friends and teachers from Gateway High School, where the 21-year-old once served as senior class president, called Joldic a math wizard with a revolutionary spirit, always outspoken about the atrocities committed in his homeland.
Philip Ng, a soft-spoken 24-year-old San Francisco native and DJ, was among Joldic’s close friends; the two would often spend late nights out, driving around and socializing. Early Saturday morning, after a typical night out, tragedy struck as the two were leaving a friend’s house in the quiet Excelsior neighborhood where Joldic used to live.
Both men were sitting in the front seat of Ng’s car on the 200 block of Athens Street about 1:45 a.m. when a man fired several shots into the vehicle. Joldic died instantly and Ng would die later at San Francisco General Hospital. A third occupant was able to escape out the back door and run from the shooter.
Police are calling the double-homicide a mystery. Despite several interviews with the surviving witness, investigators have been unable to uncover a motive, Deputy Chief David Shinn, head of the investigations bureau, told The Examiner on Wednesday. Police are calling on anybody who may have seen a vehicle drop off the suspect, described only as a Hispanic man, to come forward.
Isa Northcutt-Lemon, who said she first met Joldic during their freshman year at Gateway, said he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt with big eyeglasses and his hair slicked back.
“He was a quintessential nerd, but he walked around with confidence,” she said.
Joldic immediately gained the trust of his peers, who would later vote him senior class president. Gateway Principal Sharon Olken called the homicide a “senseless loss” of a young man who was “charismatic and positive and talented.”
He attended San Francisco State University after high school, and always held out the hope of returning to a more settled Bosnia.
A return to his homeland came sooner than expected. Joldic was shipped overseas in a coffin Thursday for a traditional Muslim burial.