Oakland Police Renew Plea for Information on Slain Punk Rock Musician

Oakland police and the family of a musician slain outside a downtown nightclub in April made a renewed plea Tuesday for information about the killers.

Homicide investigators gathered shoulder-to-shoulder with family and friends of Emilio Nevarez, 26, across the street from the Golden Bull bar at 412 14th St., where Nevarez was shot and killed on April 5.

Nevarez, a bass player and vocalist for punk rock trio the Lucky Eejits, was outside the bar at about 1:15 a.m. loading up the band's equipment after the show when someone on the street opened fire during an argument. The bullets struck Nevarez and one other person there. The second victim survived, but Nevarez was hit in the neck and died at the scene.

In the days after the shooting, police released surveillance images of two possible suspects and their car and Tuesday released an image of a third person of interest. The car is described as an early 2000s Mercedes Benz 4-door silver sedan S-series, either 430 or 500, according to police.

A reward for the capture of suspects in the case was recently increased to $35,000, police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said.

"We know there were a lot of people out that morning. They had to see something," Watson said.

Police homicide Lt. Roland Holmgren reiterated Tuesday that Nevarez was not the intended target of the shooting.

The case marked the 26th homicide in Oakland this year but "it's so much more than a number. It's so much more than a statistic," Holmgren said. He said the crowd of friends and family gathered behind him showed "how many lives he has touched."

"Our goal here today is to re-energize this case," Holmgren said. "This case has some leads," he said, including the three persons of interest captured on surveillance video.

Nevarez's mother, Bernadette Valadez, pleaded to the public for tips in the case that could lead to an arrest of a suspect. Nothing can be done to bring her son back, "but we can do something about these people staying on the streets and hurting another family," Valadez said with tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Emelio was an amazing young man" who would have had a birthday coming up in November, she said.

Tyler Salinas, drummer for the band, described the night of Nevarez's death as "a night like any other," the kind of gig they played regularly in the East Bay and practiced as much five nights a week for. 

Losing Nevarez "scares everyone" in the music scene, Salinas said. "We just want to be out here doing what we love."

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to contact the Oakland Police Department Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers of Oakland at (510) 777-8572.

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