Hayward Teen Responds To Friend's Violent Murder In Unexpected, Constructive Way

When violence claims the life of a friend, for many young people revenge can sometimes feel like a good response.

That is not how Reymond Pardini sees it.

Last August, Pardini's close friend, Kionta Murphy Jr., was shot and killed in Hayward while walking a female friend home late one night. At vigils that followed the shooting Pardini heard whispers from some who wanted to take matters into the own hands and not leave justice to the police.

Joseph Nicholas Spina

"That shocked me," Pardini said. "That's not at all how I saw Kionta. I didn't see him rolling with that kind of crowd of people who would try to put themselves above the law because that's now how he was."

Pardini decided a much more fitting response to such a dark act, was to shine a light. Literally.

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While revisiting the spot Kionta was shot, Pardini noticed just how dark it was at night. He contacted the city to see what he could do about that.

A list of rules followed. Pardini spent the following weeks making measurements, taking pictures, and knocking on doors to get neighbors to sign a petition.

Mary Beth Adams

"It was more than just doing something," Pardini said. "It was helping communities and people."

Pardini was putting together a petition to add lights to a utility pole near the crime scene to brighten the area.

When the city learned of what Pardini was doing, they didn't wait for him to finish.

Over the past few weeks the city as been improving the street lights up and down the block. The admittedly shy sixteen-year-old had gotten the attention of his city's leaders, and earned their respect in the process.

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"He's a great role model," said Hayward Police Sgt. Tasha DeCosta.

Pardini says he didn't expect his plan to work so well though he is happy he did.

His hope now is that this spot never be darkened again by violence.

"I guess when I look at the lights it'll remind me of him," Pardini said.

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