Tomas Melero-Smith
(1988-2007)
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
His legacy
2/10/08 Dinner in Remeberance of Tomas 20th B Day  
A Dinner will take place this Sunday 2/10/08 in remberance of Tomas 20th Birthday. It, will be an intimate evening with family, friends, and community.
February 7, 2008  
To continue the life legacy of Tomas Melero Smith the family, friends, community, local organizations, City Council Desley Brooks, Kaboom, and Crystler joined forces to creat a park in the name of Tomas here in East Oakland (65th Avenue). The park which stood before and empty lot on 65th avenue is now a safe heaven where children and youth in the community can play and enjoy the newly beautiful Tomas Melero Smith Peace Park in Unity. A month long planning process was completed with the building of the park on February 7, 2008 from 8:00am to 3:pm with over 300 volunteers to make this park possible. Tomas was about giving back to the community starting at a young age where youth from all parts of Oakland looked up to him as a role model and leader. His legacy as community leader will continue thru this park and many more projects to come in his memory.


Dia de Los Muertos Oakland 2007 & Events where Tomas was honored.  
In memory of Tomas and in honor of all that he stood for he was represented with a beautiful altar created by family and loved ones at this years festival in the Fruitvale Distict.  He will forever be remembered and never forgotten. Each day we live to keeping his legacy alive in our hearts and thru community events. Family and friends now were buttons on their clothes where ever they go to represent Tomas and the violence in Oakland "No Mas Por Tomas". Mijo you will always be here with us in spirit and in memory thru our hearts. We love you!!!

An Altar was also placed at the Oakland Museum in recognition of those loved ones lost to violence in Oakland for Dia de Los Muertos.

A memorial Dedication and celebration was honored at the City of Oakland's Office of Parks and Recreation's Carmen FLores Center at Josie de la Cruz Park. There was music by the flores family Mio & Tony, Johnnie de la Cruz, Manny Roa and Friends, Food provided my Ignacio owner of Mi Linda Matzalan Rest on Fruitvale. An altar was set up as many shared memories of Tomas. We concluded the cerimony with a tree planting in memory of Tomas at the park. In attendance were family, friends, Ignacio de la Fuente Council Member, Audree Jones Taylor Parks and Rec. Director, Paul Bates Rec. Supervisor, and many who loved Tomas.
Man booked in shooting of 2 men mistaken as gang rivals in Oakland  
A suspected Oakland gang member was booked Wednesday on two counts of murder for allegedly shooting two men he mistook for gang rivals, authorities said.

Ivan Omar Ordaz, 26, was arrested Tuesday in Stockton in connection with the slayings last month of Tomas Melero-Smith, 19, and Allan Orlando Mejia, 22, in East Oakland.

The victims were not gang members, but Ordaz believed they were and shot and killed both men in separate incidents 17 hours apart Sept. 1, authorities said.

The news brought a measure of relief to Melero-Smith's friends and relatives, who were holding a candlelight vigil for him Tuesday evening at Oakland City Hall when they learned Ordaz had been arrested.

"I can't understand what would drive a person to kill an innocent person," Melero-Smith's aunt, Selia Melero, said Wednesday. "What happened to him that he had so much hatred that he would kill someone he doesn't even know?"

Mejia was shot about 2 a.m. Sept. 1 at 90th and Bancroft avenues in East Oakland. The Honduran native came to the United States four years ago and was a landscaper and foundry worker, authorities said.

Melero-Smith was shot and killed about 7 p.m. that same day on the 2100 block of 94th Avenue in East Oakland. The gunman got out of a car and chased him up a driveway after he and his friends were asked what gang they belonged to, a neighbor said. The group responded that they weren't in a gang.

Melero-Smith graduated in June from St. Joseph Notre Dame Catholic High School in Alameda, where he had played basketball. He worked for the city of Oakland as a youth recreation leader at Carmen Flores Community Center in the Fruitvale District.

"He was a quiet person, very committed to helping others and working with youth," Melero said.

This is not Ordaz's first encounter with the law. In November 2006, he used a box cutter to slash the face of a man who confronted him as he and several others peeked into the victim's car on 10th Avenue, court records show. Ordaz pleaded no contest to assault with a deadly weapon and was placed on three years' probation.

He was arrested for crack-cocaine possession in 2001, but the case was later dismissed. He also has a 1999 misdemeanor conviction for intending to commit vandalism, records show.
Tomas Melero-Smith  
Memorial service honors Oakland shooting victim Youth leader described as caring man with infectious smile OAKLAND — It took only one moment to shoot Tomas Melero-Smith. In that flash of time, a promising 19-year-old community leader's future ended, leaving behind grieving family and friends to make sense of his death. That may be a task beyond anyone's grasp. Melero-Smith and two friends were together early Saturday evening after his shift manning a booth for the city's bicycle program at the weekend Art & Soul festival ended. They were briefly standing outside a house on the 2100 block of 94th Avenue at 6:53 p.m. when a car with several people inside pulled up. One occupant got out, said a few words to the three men and began shooting at them as they tried to flee, witnesses said.

Melero-Smith was the only one hit, although two others were gunned down the same day just blocks from where he was shot. "Shocking" was the word used by family friend Phyrun Yi, who was at Highland Hospital when the man died at 10:14 p.m. Saturday. "We were hoping for a miracle, that he would pull through," she said.

Few eyes were dry Monday during an impromptu memorial service at the Carmen Flores Community Center on Fruitvale Avenue, where Melero-Smith had been working for the city as a youth recreation leader. An older sister, Marcelina Sanchez, is the Parks and Recreation director of the center. She said she took her brother under her wing and showed him the ropes. "He had his heart into it," she added. The hall was packed with family and friends, who remembered Melero-Smith with stories. They described him as a caring young man whose smile was infectious and whose heart was set on doing good for the Fruitvale community he grew up in. "He had a lot ahead of him. Lots of plans. The center won't be the same without him," said Alex Gonzalez, a fellow youth leader. "He was one of the good ones." Melero-Smith was not a gang member and was never involved in gang activity, his family and friends emphasized. Police said the people in the car may have been gang members who mistakenly thought Melero-Smith and his friends were rivals. "Gang members don't accomplish this," said a man whose son was good friends with Melero-Smith, pointing to a table filled with the St. Joseph Notre Dame High School graduate's basketball trophies, academic awards, graduation photos, city commendations and other mementos.

Melero-Smith was planning to attend Diablo Valley College before transferring to the University of California at San Diego, where several of his friends were students. It's not just Tomas' death, said his aunt Selia Melero, who is an Oakland school teacher and, like many of the family, a longtime community advocate. One death affects the entire family and community for generations, she said. The memorial service was meant to send a positive message about Melero-Smith's and his family's contribution to Oakland, and call for the city to really invest in its youth and protect them, said a cousin, Samuel Cheito-Martinez. "We're still here. We're still fighting. We're not giving up," said his sister, whose husband, Nicholas Espinoza was killed nearly seven years ago, on Sept. 10. But resolve was mixed with sadness and frustration. Melero-Smith's father, John Smith, invoked the spirit of the summer of love, the 40th anniversary of which was celebrated in San Francisco this weekend even as his son was gunned down.

It's not normal to fear that children could be shot and killed any time during any day, said Selia Melero. "The youth should be a priority in this community." Melero-Smith's friends and fellow students echoed his aunt. "We have to put a stop to this war, which it is now," said longtime friend Amanda Rodriguez, 18. Melero-Smith's death brought the reality of violence home for her and others who live in some of Oakland's tougher neighborhoods. "Violence is still a problem every single day" even when it's not on the radar of people who can ignore it, said Deric McGee, 18, who lives near Seminary Avenue. "You have to be careful what you wear, who you are with, whether your doors are locked," McGee said. Even going to private school and trying to do well like he and Melero-Smith did doesn't mean you're safe, he said. "Even us." Melero-Smith is survived by his mother, Alicia Melero; father John Smith; sisters Trina, Marcelina and Magdelena Sanchez; brother Martin Sanchez; and aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. Funeral arrangements are still being made.
Service Planned for Slain SJND Student  
The St. Joseph Notre Dame High School community was shocked to hear this week of the murder of alumnus Tomas Melero-Smith. Melero-Smith, 19, a June 2007 graduate of SJND, was struck down by gunfire in Oakland on Sept. 1.

According to Oakland Police Department reports, a car approached Melero-Smith and two friends early Saturday. Witnesses reported that one occupant got out of the vehicle and said a few words to the three men, then opened fire as they turned to run. Melero-Smith was the only one hit. He was reportedly shot at 7 p.m. and rushed to Highland Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 10:14 p.m. The shooting took place on the 2100 block of 94th Avenue.

Oakland experienced a bloody Labor Day weekend. Melero-Smith's death marked the fourth in as many days and might have been related to an early-morning shooting that occurred Aug. 31, according to Oakland police. There were witnesses, but no suspect has emerged. The Alameda County Coroner disclosed no information regarding the shooting.

Michael Poirier of the Oakland Police Department said he suspects that the shooters might have been gang members who thought that Melero-Smith and his friends were in a rival gang. Melero-Smith's family was adamant that he was not a gang member or involved in any gang activity. "Gang members don't accomplish this," said a friend's father, when referring to Melero-Smith's many trophies, academic awards and city commendations.

Friends and family describe Melero-Smith as a kind young man whose heart was set on benefiting the community where he grew up. He had plans to attend Diablo Valley College with ambitions of transferring to University of California, San Diego. Melero-Smith, an Oakland resident, was a volunteer at Carmen Flores Community Center in Oakland, where he worked as a youth recreation leader.

Melero-Smith played on the SJND basketball team for three years. He brought a spirit of hard work and courageous play to the court, said Coach Don Lippi. Melero-Smith "gave his all" to the team, said Lippi in admiration.

Melero-Smith's family and friends spoke out against youth violence, saying that "youth should be a priority in this community." Melero-Smith's sister, whose husband, Nicholas Espinoza, was killed nearly seven years ago, said "We're still here. We're still fighting. We're not giving up."

SJND has offered counseling for any student affected by the tragedy. A prayer service is set for Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 1:45 p.m. in the St. Joseph Basilica, according to Carol Tady, SJND spokeswoman.

Julia Park Tracey contributed to this report.
Prayer Service for Tomas Melero-Smith '07  
Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School will hold a prayer service to honor the life of Tomas Melero-Smith on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 1:45 p.m. in the St. Joseph Basilica. Melero-Smith, 19, graduated from SJND in June 2007 and died Saturday, Sept. 1, in Oakland. The prayer service, originally planned for Friday, Sept. 7, has been moved due to the funeral services that day.

"The entire community of St Joseph Notre Dame mourns the death of Tomas Melero-Smith. We extend our deepest condolences to his family," said Principal Simon Chiu. "Through his interactions with students and faculty here at SJND, he touched the lives of many, especially the members of his graduating class of 2007. Tomas, his parents Alicia and John, and his siblings and family members are remembered in our prayers."

Melero-Smith played on the SJND basketball teams for three years and was remembered by Coach Don Lippi for his hard work and courageous play. "He was a gutsy kid," said Lippi, "He was not afraid of anybody."

Lippi remembers when Melero-Smith tried out for the varsity team in his junior year. It came down to three kids and only one would make the cut. Lippi said that Melero-Smith worked so hard during the tryout that he went outside afterward and collapsed onto the pavement. "When we saw that--that he gave it his all," said Lippi, "We knew that he was the one we wanted on the team."

Lippi also had Melero-Smith in his classes at SJND. "I respected him for how he stood by his opinions and I respected him for his service to his community," said Lippi. Melero-Smith had been working as a youth recreation leader at the Carmen Flores Community Center in Oakland and worked hard to improve his community.

A viewing will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 p.m. with a rosary following at 6:30 p.m. at Santos-Robinson Mortuary, 160 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro. Funeral services will be held Friday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Church,1500 34th Ave., Oakland. Burial will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.

Through the Counseling Department, Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School offers general counseling for any student affected by this tragedy. Those wishing to send condolences to the family can send them to: Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School, 1011 Chestnut Street, Alameda, CA 94501.
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