San Leandro Increases Reward to $50K in Slaying of 21-Year-Old College Student

The San Leandro City Council has voted unanimously to increase the reward to $50,000 for information about the unsolved homicide of Joel Ramirez, who was fatally shot in 2014 just three days after his 21st birthday.

Police said Ramirez was fatally shot in his driveway in the 400 block of Kenilworth Avenue on the morning of Dec. 14, 2014, after returning home from his girlfriend's house.

Police said he may have been the victim of mistaken identity.

"He was such a loving kid," said Delia Aceves, Ramirez's aunt. "Hard not to miss him."

Delia said the unsolved homicide has been very difficult for her family, who is looking for closure and justice.

"We want to make sure the person responsible for this gets put behind bars," Aceves said.

The City Council approved a $25,000 reward for information in the case last February and voted to double that amount to $50,000 on Monday.

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said in a statement, "Our community was deeply saddened when the life of Joel Ramirez was taken so abruptly. I can assure the public that our Police Department is using all of its available resources to find the person who did this."

She said, "Our City Council hopes this unprecedented reward will assist in the ongoing efforts to bring Joel's killer to justice."

Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli said, "Joel was a member of our community, with aspirations of becoming a police officer - someone who you would want as a next door neighbor."

"I hope that the increased reward will produce leads for us that will assist in solving this tragic case," Spagnoli said.

Police said Ramirez was born and raised in San Leandro, graduated from San Leandro High School in 2012 and was attending Chabot College in Hayward and working at the El Torito Restaurant at the San Leandro Marina at the time he was killed.

Ramirez's neighbors have established a scholarship in his honor that will be awarded to a San Leandro High School senior. More information is available on the San Leandro Scholarship Foundation's website at

Anyone with information about his death has been asked to call the San Leandro police Criminal Investigations Division at 510-577-3230.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd contributed to this report.

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