Crime - Sacto 911

Family seeks answers in killing of Sacramento 16-year-old

Family, friends, and neighbors create an impromptu memorial to Isaiah Diaz 16, who was shot and killed while visiting his grandmother in South Sacramento on Saturday, October 3, 2015.
Family, friends, and neighbors create an impromptu memorial to Isaiah Diaz 16, who was shot and killed while visiting his grandmother in South Sacramento on Saturday, October 3, 2015. rbenton@sacbee.com

Jackie Andersen still wonders why her 16-year-old son was gunned down on the driveway of his grandmother’s Colonial Village neighborhood home last month.

Isaiah Diaz was relaxing with two friends about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 3 when a gray Dodge Charger drove up and fired several rounds, striking Diaz, according to Andersen. The victim walked a few steps before collapsing.

The two friends were unhurt and drove Diaz to Mercy San Juan Medical Center, but the hospital sent him to UC Davis Medical Center’s trauma center, Andersen said. The lost time driving around could have been the difference between life and death, the mother said.

“That’s what I think about every night,” she said last week. “I have this thought that he might have lived.”

More than a month after the slaying, Sacramento police have few leads in the case, and no arrests have been made. While police say the 17th Avenue shooting was gang-related and not random, Andersen said her son – a student at American Legion High – was not in a gang.

She described him as a “good kid” who was “hanging out with the wrong people.”

“I know it wasn’t meant for my kid,” said Andersen, 36.

The family is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the slaying.

Last week, the family held a candlelight vigil that drew more than 40 close friends and relatives. The event featured pineapple-flavored soda – Diaz’s favorite – and a poster that read, “We love you.” Dozens of white candles placed on the driveway of the grandmother’s house spelled out the words, “Justice 4 Isaiah.”

“He was a happy-go-lucky little kid,” said Mary Diaz, 65, the boy’s grandmother.

The Sacramento Police Department urges anyone with information to contact its dispatch center at 916-264-5471 or Crime Alert at 916-443-4357, or to text a tip to 274637. Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000, police said.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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