The older sister of an 18-year-old shooting victim appealed to the public Tuesday for help in tracking down any witnesses to the killing, which occurred early last Saturday at an unregulated "block party" in an industrial area of Santa Ana.
The sister of 18-year-old Robert Silva of Santa Ana, who did not wish to be identified, appealed to the dozens of potential witnesses who were at the gathering in the 1700 block of Newport Circle to step forward and tell investigators what they know about the shooting.
"If they could picture themselves in our shoes," the tearful woman told reporters. "Whoever has proof -- to keep quiet, I don't think it's right."
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Silva "was taken from this world for no reason," his sister said. "They should speak up so it won't happen to anybody else. If it's the first (shooting), it won't be the last."
To the killer, she said, "He should picture himself in our shoes. What if it was him taken from this world? His mother would feel that pain."
Silva's mother was overcome by grief and briefly taken to an area hospital following news of the shooting, said Santa Ana police Detective Gus Moroyoqui.
Police have interviewed a group of witnesses who stuck around following the shooting, which was reported at 1:14 a.m. on June 23. But a couple of dozen witnesses left the scene and detectives have not been able to contact them to get more evidence, Moroyoqui said, adding that investigators released video of the shooting in the hopes it generates leads.
A fight involving mostly pushing and shoving with some fists thrown was interrupted when someone fired a shot into the crowd, killing Silva, Moroyoqui said.
"We don't know if Mr. Silva was a target," the detective said.
Police are seeing an uptick in so-called "Nos Parties," which feature nitrous oxide, alcohol and other drugs, Moroyoqui said, adding that the gatherings are loosely organized through social media and word of mouth and are typically held in industrial areas to reduce the risk of neighbors calling police.
"Unless an alarm goes off, we're not going to know about it," he said.
Silva was a "loving, caring" person who was more concerned about others than he was himself, his sister said and "was the best uncle" to her 2-year-old son.
"The bond he had with my son is unexplainable," she said. "It hurts when I see my son asking for him."
Silva was working as a landscaper, but had planned to return to school to better himself, his sibling said.
"He was actually going to finish school because he wanted to get a better job," she said.
Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to call detectives at (714) 245-8390. Orange County Crime Stoppers will accept anonymous tips at (855) TIP-OCCS.