OAKLAND — Last year, 86 people died as a result of homicide in Oakland.
Ayana Dominguez”s July 10 slaying in a Wendy”s drive-thru in the city”s Fruitvale district was the city”s 46th homicide of 2014.
But her death — among the city”s hundreds of unsolved cases — is more than just a number, police say.
“That number belongs to a person,” Lt. Roland Holmgren, said Monday as he and a team of investigators and officers with the city”s police homicide unit addressed the media outside the spot where Dominguez was fatally wounded.
In an effort to find killers who remain on the loose, Oakland police on Monday announced they”ve launched an initiative to help reduce the number of open homicide cases.
Starting next week, the department will put up billboards across the city with the faces of cold case victims.
It will also biannually release posters that include pictures of the victims with the date and location of the slaying. The posters, which carry the headline, “Do you know who killed me?” will also be viewable on a cold case website set to launch next week, said police spokeswoman Johnna Watson.
At the time of her death, Dominguez, who family called a kind, happy and easy-going person, had just graduated from high school and was getting ready to enter college to study medicine.
“She was just an 18-year-old girl who was doing nothing more than getting food in the Wendy”s drive thru.” Holmgren said.
As she waited in a car with her boyfriend at the eatery along the 3100 block of International Boulevard, a gunman on foot riddled the vehicle with bullets. Her boyfriend was wounded but survived. Dominguez died later that night at the hospital.
“We know more than one person was responsible for her death and that she was not the intended target,” Holmgren said. He said investigators still need more clues to solve the case.
In hopes that someone will recognize Dominguez or that they know something about her death, her name will be one of those placed on a billboard and on posters, police said Monday.
“I”d like to implore anyone with information to come forward and assist,” her father, Scott Dominguez, told a group of reporters as he stood near the victim”s mother. “Please help.”
“Not a day goes by that I don”t think about this,” said the teenager”s mother, Autumn Blueford.
A handful of other victims” family members, including Marilyn Washington Harris, whose son Khadafy Washington — an18-year-old star football player — was fatally shot behind McClymonds High School on Aug. 4, 2000, also addressed the media Monday.
“We want people to understand that (even though the cases haven”t been solved yet), their loved ones are not forgotten,” Washington Harris said.
Anyone with information about unsolved homicide cases is asked to call police at 510-238-3821. To remain anonymous, call 510-238-7950.
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.