Friends of Kevin C. Craft, 20, who was killed, possibly sometime in the early morning hours of April 22, say there’s a lesson to be learned after the tragic shooting of their friend.
Though friends and family are distraught, they’re rallying the community to celebrate Craft’s life, and to send a message: Have a plan in life.
“There’s a teaching moment here,” said Mark Pippin, a local community activist and owner of Innovative Screen Printing, a screen printing operation on Martin Avenue in Rohnert Park. “We want to send a message that we’re here, we care, and we want to save our kids. We need to somehow use this to teach our kids to have a plan in life.”
Pippin was contacted by a small group of Craft’s friends days after the homicide; they wanted help to plan a memorial for him and raise some money for the family.
“The kids called me and asked me for my help, and I said come on down here, let’s do this,” Pippin said.
Samantha Weaver, 20, and Stacie Lefever, 17, are organizing a fundraiser at Escape Paintball in Rohnert Park May 9, from 6-9 p.m. The two are working with other friends and family members to create Craft’s lifetime biography, to sell tickets for the fundraiser and to raise awareness about their loss.
“We don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea of him,” Weaver said. “We want to help support the community and make people aware that he was an amazing person."
Craft's father, Curtis, said he was amazed at the outpouring of community support so far.
"I'm very grateful," he said. "Anybody who knew my son, I want to know them."
Weaver grew up with Craft. They were neighbors from age eight on; they walked to school together.
“He was the kid that everybody loved,” she said.
To say that the people who knew Craft are shaken up would be to put it midly — some are scared, confused, angry — but mostly, they want answers.
“We want to know what happened, there’s no reason he should have been in the place where he was found,” Weaver said. "I can honestly say that we all look at life differently now."
One of Craft’s friends said they received a call at about 5 a.m. from him, but so far, that’s all they know.
Sgt. Jeff Nicks, who’s heading up the investigation for the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, confirmed late Monday that evidence in connection with the homicide has been found in Citrus Heights, Calif.
“We are following up on leads that have taken us to the Sacramento area,” Nicks said. “We have written a search warrant and have collected some evidence; we are processing that and developing leads off of that evidence.”
Nicks couldn’t confirm that a phone call was made in the early morning hours from Craft.
Craft was found shot behind the Best Western Inn last Friday on Old Redwood Highway in Rohnert Park around 8 a.m, according to police.
“I’m not going to be saying anything more until we get further along in the investigation, we need to continue to work our case,” Nicks said.
Editor’s note: Tickets for Craft’s memorial and fundraiser will be available this Friday, April 29. Tickets are $25. Included with them will be a biography about Craft and a message about his life. Pippin is rallying area police and former NFL player Honor Jackson to speak at the memorial. Jackson runs a mentoring program for youth.
Pippin, along with owners of AM Printing & Graphics in Rohnert Park and Escape Paintball are donating time and services for the fundraiser.
View the surveillance video footage released by Rohnert Park police of two people possibly tied to the killing.