San Jose Teen Killed by Caltrain Remembered as Talented Musician

SJ Musician Remembered

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Lincoln High student is remembered in San Jose after a passenger train killed him on Tuesday. George Kiriyama reports.

    They hugged in the middle of Theodore Lenzen park in San Jose on Thursday evening, surrounded by more than 200 people at at a candlelight vigil.

    Tears came down their faces as they sobbed loudly. The family of 16-year-old Donae Johnican wasn't ready or may never be ready to say goodbye.

    "Thank you so much for loving my baby," Donae's mother, Nickki Noble, said to the crowd.
     
    One by one, they shared their memories. Some made people cry. Others made people laugh.

    "What Donae exemplified was love. He gave his love easily and he gave it to everyone," DeShonn Noble, Donae's uncle, said.

    Donae Johnican was a promising musician. His music was his life. He saw his songs as way to change the world. Donae taught himself how to play the guitar in 7th grade. From that point on, the guitar became an extension of him.

    His uncle Shamako Noble knew his nephew had musical talent beyond his age. He would take Donae to open-mic nights at clubs in Downtown San Jose.

    "He went straight for your soul," Shamako Noble said.

    But the music stopped on Tuesday on train tracks near Virginia Avenue in San Jose. Donae was on his way home, wearing headphones and listening to music. His mother says he wasn't paying attention to a fast-moving passenger train. It clipped him, spinning Donae around and killing him. The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's office has ruled this an accident.

    "The conductor, please, please whoever was driving that train, I want you to know. I do not blame you and I'm so sorry you have to live with the sight of hitting my son. I know it wasn't your fault," Nickki Noble said.

    Donae's teachers say they remembered him for his humility. Sandra Madrigal saw the potential in Donae when he was just seven years old. She would see Donae every day at the 3rd Street Community Center.

    "He was just always giving and always willing to help and always patient and when things seemed to get a little crazy, Donae always kinda had a balance to him," Madrigal said.

    Related story:

    Lincoln High School Student Struck, Killed by Caltrain

    To see a YouTube video of Donae playing his guitar, click here: