OAKLAND, Calif. -- The family of 23-month-old Jasper Wu, gathered at a makeshift memorial along the southbound lanes of Interstate 880 in Oakland, California late Monday morning. They burned incense and joss paper which is how many Chinese pay respects to the deceased, ensuring a comfortable afterlife.
Little Jasper was in a car with his mother, aunt, and cousins on the way home to Fremont, California when a bullet went through their front windshield. Sources told our sister station, KGO-TV, Jasper was caught in gang crossfire.
Jasper's mother Cherry An, invited KGO-TV to the Fremont home she shares with family Monday afternoon. Surrounded by friends- and community leaders who offered translation.
Cherry reflected on picking out a cake for Jasper's second birthday next month. And that he was an "incredibly good boy."
"Jasper was such a wonderful child be never fussed and he's so smart and always just such a wonderful child to me," says Cherry through one of the translators.
Compounding her heartbreak, Cherry's husband is flying to San Francisco from Shanghai. He has never even seen his son in real life. They have only met via video chat. He has never been able to visit America, an unfortunate circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I have been a full-time mom. Even when I was pregnant I was by myself," says Cherry.
As Fremont councilwoman Teresa Kang, Vice Mayor Yang Shao and Mayor Lilly Mei offered condolences and support to Cherry and her mother-in-law and shared a strong message.
"We will not tolerate this in terms of violence for our families. We need to be in solidarity together and heartfelt sympathy for family at this time." says Mayor Mei.
Cherry made a plea of her own, "This is such a huge loss to us. We cannot accept his departure. I want to call on the community if you were on highway 880. Please give us any information you may have."
The family asks for privacy as Jasper's father processes this tragedy.
Carl Chan of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce coordinated with Jasper's family and other community groups on an official GoFundMe, which you can donate to here.
VIDEO: Father of toddler killed in I-880 shooting arrives at San Francisco airport
Chan spoke with reporters on Monday night at San Francisco International Airport. He said Jasper's parents should be planning the boy's second birthday party. Instead, they're arranging his funeral.
Jasper's father landed at SFO and reunited quietly with his wife Cherry.
"I think they went in, finding him," Chan told KGO-TV. "Get the luggage and clear the customs right away and the immigration. Now they're on the way back home for the time being."
Chan said the family is planning to have the boy's funeral later this week.