Michael Burdan was a young man with learning challenges, a gentle nature and a caring love for his nieces and nephews.
Sacramento police want to know how the 19-year-old became an innocent victim, shot dead in Del Paso Heights while riding his bicycle to deliver strawberries to a brother.
Detectives on Wednesday were trying to piece together details of the 6:45 p.m. Tuesday shooting at North Avenue and May Street that may lead to a suspect.
Friends, neighbors and family members of Burdan, a Foothill High School graduate who loved music, Raiders football and his ever-present bicycle, gathered at the same corner Wednesday night to grieve his death.
Burdan's sister, Samantha Burdan, 25, said her younger brother despite learning difficulties was "amazing. He was so strong and mature."
She said Burdan, one of 10 brothers and sisters, looked after his younger siblings and doted on the children of older siblings.
"I hope they find whoever did this and they are brought to justice," she said. "He had no enemies. People always saw him as a strong, silent type. He was a big guy, very quiet, just there if you needed him."
His mother, Irene Burdan, held a lighted candle and cried with about two dozen mourners Wednesday night.
"What we can't figure out is why somebody would do this to him, out of the blue," she said.
Police and paramedics responded to the scene after callers reported hearing gunfire and seeing a person down in the street. Burdan's body was found in the road.
Investigators have identified no suspects or motive.
Police spokeswoman Officer Michele Gigante said detectives were "working it hard" to develop a break in the case.
"It's sad when something like this happens. It's tragic," she said.
Burdan's Facebook page notes that he loved school, his family and his girlfriend.
He was known to social workers at the Stanford Settlement Neighborhood Center, whose teen center offers encouragement and self-esteem programs for adolescents.
Social worker Julie Rhoten said Burdan "was just a sweet boy" who "wouldn't do harm to anybody."
Shawna Rivera, whose son was a close friend of Burdan's, said Burdan wanted to become an auto mechanic.
"He used to say, 'Can I wash your car? Can I do this and that for you?' " Rivera said, weeping at the vigil.
"He wanted to help everyone. Michael wasn't involved in anything bad. He was just taking his brother some strawberries. I've known that boy since he was 6 years old. He was like a son to me."
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at (916) 264-5471 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357.
Crime Alert tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward up to $1,000.