General Crime

* Liz Bauer Mother of Murder Victim Joseph Ayala Seeks Answers to His Killing

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The mother of a 19-year-old San Lorenzo man who was fatally shot last week while walking home from a friend’s birthday party said today that she still can’t understand why her son’s life was taken. Liz Bauer, the mother of Joseph Ayala, said “there was no reason” for the killing, which occurred on Meekland Avenue and Sunset Boulevard in unincorporated Alameda County near Hayward at about 1:30 a.m. last Wednesday. “He wasn’t robbed and he hadn’t been in a fight,” Bauer said. “It leaves you in the dark.” “I hope in my heart that somebody will talk,” she said. “That’s all I can hope for.” Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the investigation into Ayala’s death is continuing and that no suspects have been identified. Admitting that all she can do now is speculate, Bauer said one possibility is that her son was killed as part of a gang initiation rite. She said another possibility is that he was targeted by two young men with whom he’d gotten into a confrontation during his senior year at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo. Fighting back tears, Ayala’s sister, Sara Clarke, remembered him today as “a very caring, generous and sincere person.” Clarke, 30, said she recently had to move back home to live with her parents and Ayala because she’s going through a divorce. She said Ayala was there for her and helped her take care of her young son. “He would always put other people first,” Clarke said. Ayala, who was known as “Joey,” played baseball in the Ashland Little League and at Arroyo High School, she said. “He was a pitcher and was excellent at it and it was something he really loved to do,” Clarke said. Ayala also was an avid snowboarder, she said. He was attending Chabot College and planned to become a physical education teacher, Clarke said. Bauer said Ayala didn’t have much free time because he attended Chabot Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday he waited tables at Red Robin restaurant in Newark. Several family members – Bauer, her daughter and another son – also work at the restaurant. Bauer said her son was walking home from a friend’s birthday party the night of the shooting because he couldn’t find a ride home. “He didn’t call because he didn’t want to wake us up,” she said.Bauer said a friend of Ayala’s who was walking with him before he was shot said they noticed a car that was idling and seemed suspicious. According to the friend’s account, the passenger in the car rolled down his window and Ayala walked up to the man and said, “What’s up?” The passenger didn’t say anything, but pulled out a gun and shot Ayala, according to the friend, Bauer said. Bauer said her son “was very handsome and quite the ladies’ man and would have made a great contribution to society.” She said he touched the lives of many people and that more than 550 people have joined a Facebook site that honors him. A viewing for Ayala will be held at Holy Angels Funeral Center at 1051 Harder Road in Hayward from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. A memorial mass will held at St. John’s Catholic Church at 264 East Lewelling Blvd. in San Lorenzo at 10 a.m. Thursday. Bauer said the programs should be well-attended and “will be a great big party of love because we don’t want anyone to retaliate with violence.” Describing herself as a hippie, Bauer said, “Love can conquer all and we want to get through this with love.”

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