Friends and family members of slain San Jose resident Albert Cobarrubias today remembered him as a loving father, dedicated community leader and aspiring lawyer whose life was cut short by gunfire Saturday night.
Cobarrubias, 31, was playing pool with family and a few friends in the garage of his mother's home around 11 p.m. in the 2700 block of Chopin Avenue when someone fired four shots at him and fled before police and paramedics arrived.
His mother, Gracie Cobarrubias, said she was watching television inside the house and was stunned to hear the gunfire. The next few minutes were a flurry of panic as her nephew and another son desperately tried searching for a phone and called 911. In the midst of crime scene tape, ambulances and firefighters buzzing about the house, Gracie Cobarrubias was whisked away to Regional Medical Center where her son was pronounced dead.
Her voice trembling, Cobarrubias said Albert was her eldest son, but that they'd had a brother-sister kinship because she had given birth to him at a very young age.
"He grew up with a lot of love," Cobarrubias said. "I was a teenage mom, but my parents made me go back to school and that's what I did with my son."
She said she had deterred him from street life, gangs and drugs and had instead emphasized the importance of education. Consequently, Cobarrubias was in the Gifted and Talented Education program all throughout school, where he maintained a 4.0 grade point average. Following high school graduation, he had enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps before settling down at San Jose City College and transferring to San Jose State University. He graduated with a degree in Administration of Justice.
He had been working as a sales representative at South Bay Paints on West San Carlos Street and volunteering with Silicon Valley De Bug, an organization that helps families and individuals navigate through the criminal justice system.
"He was very dedicated. Here he is helping people fight crime and now my son is a victim of the same thing," Cobarrubias said.
De Bug director Raj Jayadev said Cobarrubias had been volunteering with the organization for about three years.
"He was a volunteer, but he was a principal architect of our criminal justice clinic," Jayadev said. "He was really one of the founding fathers of that project."
Cobarrubias was recently working on securing an appeal for a convict serving a life sentence and also offering legal support for a mother whose juvenile son had been charged.
Cobarrubias had just been accepted into the Santa Clara University of Law, his mother said.
"He was clearly on his way to the top. He had a brilliant mind, but at the same time he was really down to earth and just a really great guy to be around," Jayadev said.
His aunt Raquel Cobarrubias said she will remember him as a very intelligent, outgoing and wonderful nephew, father and son who was always willing to help those in need.
"He was a great person, just a loving person. He meant the world to us," she said.
Cobarrubias leaves behind daughters Cashmere, 13; Eliana, 9; and Ariana, 4.
Mitch Cobarrubias has set up a savings account at Chase to collect funds for a memorial service for his nephew. Donations can be addressed to 1009 East Capitol Expressway, #426 San Jose, CA 95121. The account number is 2946402167.
No suspects have been arrested and police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Sgt. Tony Mata or Detective Sgt. Dave Gutierrez of the Police Department's homicide unit at (408) 277-5283.
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP.
Bay City News