Father Killed in Orinda Halloween Shooting Remembered as Kind, Ambitious

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Omar Taylor Sr. (left) stands next to his son's casket on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 at the Grace Bible Fellowship in Antioch, Calif. Omar Taylor Jr. was one of five victims in a Halloween night shooting at an Airbnb rental in Orinda. (Kate Wolffe/KQED)

Funerals have begun for the victims of the Halloween shooting that killed five people at an Orinda Airbnb.

On Thursday, hundreds of family and friends arrived at Grace Bible Fellowship in Antioch to remember Omar Taylor Jr., 24, a father to a three-year-old girl.

"My son was well-loved," said Omar Taylor Sr. "This is a good kid we lost and it doesn't just affect our family, it affects the whole community. The community took a loss with this one."

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The younger Taylor was remembered at the service as a warm person with serious ambition, who wanted to be a music producer and worked hard to achieve it. Many friends knew him as a talented athlete, who played football from Pop Warner days, up until his time at El Cerrito High School.

"My body’s shaking. My legs are weak. It feels like part of my chest has been ripped out right now," said Taylor’s cousin, Rhaheem Carrie. Carrie said that after he moved to Ohio for school, he would call Taylor every day to talk about school, music and how things were going back home.

According to family, after graduating from El Cerrito High School, Taylor worked for UPS, Coca-Cola and Tesla. Throughout it all, he kept working on his music and DJed at local community events and parties.

In 2016, he became a father to a girl, Ja’niyah, who his friends described as the "love of his life."

For Omar Taylor Sr., his son dying from gun violence is a nightmare. He said that he had grown up on the streets of Richmond, so when his sons were born, he worked hard to ensure they wouldn’t be exposed to the violence that he was.

"So it’s hard for me today looking at my kid in the casket from being shot and he wasn’t in the streets," he said. "My son was just DJing a party, just trying to make some money, that’s it."

Rhaheem Carrie, whose cousin, Omar Taylor Jr., was among the five people killed in a Halloween night shooting in Orinda, wore a button with a picture of him and Taylor. Carrie spoke during his cousin's funeral on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Antioch, Calif.
(Kate Wolffe/KQED)

Five men have been arrested in connection to the crime. Taylor is thought to have been caught in the crossfire of the shooting, which was billed on Instagram as an Airbnb mansion party. The party attracted young people from across the Bay Area, including Richmond, Vallejo and Antioch. All the victims in the shooting were people of color.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Airbnb publicly announced that they would pay for the funerals and any counseling that the families needed. According to the Contra Costa County Victim Services Center, two families have chosen not to receive assistance and the other three have. The center said Taylor’s family opted to decline assistance.

Funerals for the other victims of the shooting — Tiyon Farley, 22; Ramon Hill Jr., 23; Javlin County, 29; and Oshiana Thompkins, 19 — are continuing this week and next.

According to civil rights lawyer Adante Pointer, who represents the families of the Farley, Thompkins and County, Airbnb's assistance will help ease their financial burden.

KPIX 5 reports that the family of Ramon Hill Jr. has said they will file a lawsuit against Airbnb and the homeowners.

During the service for Taylor, some mourners spoke out about gun violence taking the lives of too many community members.

“It’s a tragedy. The gun violence and the uncertainty of all that went down — it’s just a tragedy,” said Carrie.

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