On Wednesday afternoon, friends and family members of Artgel “Jun” Anabo held a press conference outside of the East Oakland restaurant that he co-owned, Lucky Three Seven, to address the 39-year-old Oaklander’s killing, which occurred there one week ago.
Councilmembers Sheng Thao and Noel Gallo, OPD Deputy Chief Angelica Mendoza, and Terry Wiley of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office were also present.
Attendees circled around a commemorative alter that had been created for Anabo outside the restaurant and expressed their grief over losing a person many considered to be a cornerstone in the neighbrhood.
“My brother loved the town and he also knew that he was building all of this for his son, Khia,” said Analyn Novenario, Anabo’s sister, who has set up a GoFundme page to raise money for Anabo’s son. “How do I ensure a safe future for Khia and others?”
Lucky Three Seven co-owner Mark Legaspi said he and Anabo started the business in 2013 with two goals: to become the first successful Filipino restaurant in Oakland and to transform their corner of the city on Fruitvale and Brookdale avenues into a vibrant community space. Under Legaspi and Anabo’s leadership, Lucky Three Seven became known for its community food drives and for hosting neighborhood block parties.
“I gotta do something big for Jun,” Legaspi said at the press conference. “It might be a free food giveaway, but I know I have to do something big for him.” As Legaspi spoke, a passerby shouted “Go Jun!” while they drove past the restaurant.
Last Thursday, Lucky Three Seven posted on its Instagram account that it would be closed indefinitely. But Legaspi assured those assembled on Wednesday afternoon that the restaurant isn’t going anywhere. “We’re not letting anyone shut us down,” he said. Lucky Three Seven staff served customers their popular “G-fire” chicken wings while Legaspi and others spoke.
Many called for justice for Anabo, imploring OPD to find his killer and hold them responsible. “We gotta get this guy,” Legaspi told the conference. Jose Ortiz, co-owner of La Perla, a Puerto Rican restaurant further north on Fruitvale Avenue, kneeled on the ground and promised to do everything in his power to help. Ortiz had known both Anabo and Legaspi for years, and said he considered them to be like family. “If we don’t make noise, Jun will become a statistic and I don’t want that,” Ortiz said.
Councilmember Sheng Thao made an emotional plea to Oaklanders to stop gun violence in the city. “We need a total ceasefire—put your guns down,” Thao said.
Thao received a call from Ortiz on Wednesday night saying that Anabo had been shot, and the councilmember drove to Highland Hospital where he was being treated. “I saw Khia run up to Mr. Ortiz and say, ‘Where’s my dad?’” Thao said. “That just broke my heart.”
Deputy Chief Mendoza addressed Anabo’s killing by saying that her department was committed to keeping all of the city’s residents safe. “Chief [LeRonne] Armstrong’s personal message is, ‘This has to stop,’” Mendoza told the crowd.
Wiley, Alameda County’s chief assistant district attorney, said the DA’s office would make Anabo’s case a priority. “What I will assure you is that we are going to put our best attorneys on this case,” Wiley said.
Novenario talked about her desire to see justice served for her brother, but also expressed condolences for the families of the victims of recent mass shootings, including those in Buffalo, N.Y. and Uvalde, Texas. “I send my sincerest condolences to you all because life is precious and fragile,” Novenario said.
She called on the need for gun control and better access to mental-health care, and asked the crowd to follow her brother’s example of how to serve one another. “I’m calling for people to embrace kindness and positivity,” she said, “the same way he did.”