On a day of mourning, there was a shred of solace for the loved ones of Abel Alonso.
As family members and friends of Sacramento's youngest homicide victim of 2007 crowded into the 15-year-old boy's funeral Thursday morning, police announced they had made an arrest in the slaying.
Steven Duran, 22, had been arrested hours after the shooting last Friday on unrelated charges. Duran -- picked up on an auto theft warrant -- was being held Thursday without bail on a new count: suspicion of murder.
Alonso's friends said they did not recognize Duran's name and questioned whether their friend -- a young man known as "Little" -- was even the intended target.
"He never got into fights, he never had any problems," said his friend, Sam Nunez, 18. "It (the fatal gunshot) couldn't have been for Abel. He is the last person I know who I would have expected this happening to."
Alonso was riding with his 18-year-old brother, Bernardo, last Friday morning as they headed to Genesis High School, a charter school in south Sacramento sponsored by the National Guard. Duran was driving in the area, and an argument broke out among the three young men near Fruitridge Road and Ortega Street, police said.
A gunshot was fired into the Alonso brothers' BMW, grazing Bernardo and striking Abel in the head, police said. A cousin drove them to the hospital. Abel Alonso died later that day.
Bernardo Alonso -- an honor student at Genesis High -- had been scheduled to attend a breakfast for seniors that morning and graduate that night. He was released from the hospital this week. Like his older brother, Abel Alonso was a good student, his friends said. He rarely missed school and was very popular.
"He made everyone laugh," said another friend, Jose Jimenez, 18. "He always had a smile on his face and he had a great personality."
And he was, according to Sacramento police, the youngest victim of a homicide in the city this year. "This is by all accounts a good kid, and it's too bad he fell victim" to violence, Sgt. Matt Young said.
Young wouldn't elaborate on the motive behind the shooting.
Duran declined a request Thursday for an interview from Sacramento County jail.
At the same time, dozens of Alonso's relatives gathered on the family's front lawn, eating spaghetti, rice and beans as they fondly recalled the young man.
Many in the family came to the Central Valley from Zacatecas, Mexico. As cousins and siblings spread to Modesto, Merced, Chico and Sacramento, the only events that have reunited the family in recent years have been weddings, quinceañeras -- a girl's 15th birthday party -- and funerals. "It's a sad thing that this is what brings us together," said Leo De Luna, a friend of Alonso's father who is also from Zacatecas. "Abel was much too young."