Tyler Dec forgot his laptop at work at Men Oh Tokushima Ramen last week. When he picked it up the next day, he opened it to find photos of his co-workers and friends Daniel Garcia-Sanchez and Carlos Estrada-Partida making faces and goofing off.
“There was never a dull moment with them,” Dec, who worked with Garcia-Sanchez and Estrada-Partida for the last year, told Patch.
It’s those types of silly, harmless and hilarious antics their friends and family will miss.
The two were gunned down on the 33400 block of 11th Street at around 1 a.m. early Sunday morning, just a few houses down from Estrada-Partida’s home where the two friends lived.
Garcia-Sanchez was 21; Estrada-Partida, 18, just two weeks away from his 19th birthday on Sept. 10.
On Tuesday night, dozens gathered at the corner of 11th and D streets to pay respects to the fallen friends. Loved ones and community members were saddened and shocked at the news of the grisly crime.
“Carlos was always just trying to enjoy life,” Paul Partida, Estrada-Partida’s cousin, said.
Estrada-Partida had recently graduated from high school, a proud accomplishment that didn’t come easy for him, Partida said. But Estrada-Partida was determined and focused, with plans to attend a local community college in the spring semester.
“[Estrada-Partida] always wanted to do better for himself and everyone around him,” close friend Alfonso Gutierrez, 20, told Patch. “He told me he was put on this earth to change things and make them better.”
“Everything was perfect, and then this happened,” Partida said.
Estrada-Partida and Garcia-Sanchez weren’t troublemakers, friends and relatives said. They were too busy having a good time, cracking playful jokes and spending time with their friends and family.
“Danny would be cool with anyone. It didn’t matter who you were,” Dec, 21, said.
“They were great guys all around,” friend Adi Riate added. “It’s a sad loss.”
Both Garcia-Sanchez and Estrada-Partida had worked at Men Oh and dubbed themselves “The Ramen Gods.” The two struck up a close friendship over the last year, so much so that Garcia-Sanchez had moved in with Estrada-Partida’s family.
“They were pretty much inseparable,” friend Cristine Collantes said.
The two had formed a tight-knit group of friends with their co-workers. They’d even show up to the restaurant on their days off just to hang out. It became their home base, but most of the time they’d end up hanging out in front of the restaurant and talking for hours.
“We weren’t just co-workers, we were family. That was their motto,” Rae Damian, 21, said.
The night of their murder, Estrada-Partida and Garcia-Sanchez had contacted some of their co-workers to hang out. They sent text messages a couple hours prior saying they were bored and hanging out at home. The two would sometimes hang out in front of the house so as not to disturb Estrada-Partida’s family members, friends said.
But no one knows what happened that night.
Police have not been able to determine a motive for the slaying and have been left with little to no clues.
One neighbor who asked to remain anonymous said he heard three shots at about 1 a.m. early Sunday and called the cops.
Responding officers found both Garcia-Sanchez and Estrada-Partida lying in the roadway.
Garcia-Sanchez was pronounced dead at the scene.
Estrada-Partida was transported to a local hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The shooting has left the Decoto community frightened. While the district is no stranger to gang violence and shootings, it's had a long, quiet run. Sunday morning's fatal shooting were the first homicides of 2013 in Union City, and the first in more than two years.
“Everyone is fearful. Anyone who would kill young kids like this, there’s no telling what they’d do,” the neighbor said. “These kids were just starting their lives.”
“I hope we catch whoever did this,” he added. “At all costs, we need to track them down and make sure whoever did it goes to jail for life.”
Union City police are urging anyone with information to come forward by contacting them at 510-471-1365. Anonymous tips can also be left at 510-675-5207.
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