Kevin C. Craft would have turned 21 May 1. Police are still searching for Craft’s killer, who in Rohnert Park a little more than two weeks ago. Craft’s body was discovered around 8 a.m. April 22.
When police confirmed Craft’s death later that day, friends and family were confused. They said he was without his wallet, had made at least one phone call three hours before he was found and didn’t understand why he was at a hotel parking lot in the still-dark morning.
Friends and family of Craft — many who have never met one another — immediately united after the tragedy. The killing has stricken down cultural barriers that may have prevented a kinship before. People of all colors, cultures, ethnicities and ages, have come together to remember the kid they call Ziggy. Local business owners donated time and money without hesitation.
They said Craft’s death has taught them a larger lesson about life — don’t waste it; help someone in need. Some friends are rethinking their decision to skip college, a couple are looking for new jobs, most said they’re inspired by the outpouring of community surrounding such a terrible crime, and they’re taking heed.
“If the community works together, we can make a difference in each one of these kids’ lives,” said Mark Pippin, a local activist who also owns Innovative Screen Printing in Rohnert Park.
In the last two weeks, friends have organized a carwash fundraiser from the ground up at Southwest Boulevard and Snyder Lane, they comprised a lifetime biography of their friend and yesterday gathered between 50 and 75 people for a fundraiser and memorial at Escape Paintball in Rohnert Park. All proceeds benefitted the Craft family.
“I know we all look at life differently now,” said Samantha Weaver, 20, a friend of Craft’s.
“We all want to work together to help this family,” said Joey E., a friend of Craft’s who helped organize the carwash. “Ziggy was a great guy; he was always happy and always willing to help someone in need — we want to do that for him.”
Craft’s mom agreed. She described a selfless teenager, who just three days before his death, helped an aunt move and on a separate occasion, took care of his grandparents who had both undergone surgeries recently.
“He was always there for us,” said Craft’s mom Debbie. “He was so patient, so calm.”
Craft worked part time at his dad’s printing company, and he was preparing to take summer classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. He wanted to go to a four-year college to get a degree in horticulture. He loved gardening and the outdoors, his mom said.
As a boy, he was an explorer, said his dad Curtis. He played Pop Warner football, excelled in baseball, attended church camps and looked forward to the family’s summer vacations every year. In Rohnert Park, he attended Creekside and Thomas Page elementary schools as well as El Camino High.
He was very good with his hands; artistic and caring for those less fortunate than himself, family members said.
“As he matured into a teenager, he turned his compassion to his friends and helped those less fortunate than he was; he always helped the underdog,” Curtis said.
Craft cherished family. He even waited until he turned 18 to get his first tattoo in honor of his parent’s wishes. When he turned 18, he got it. The tattoo wrapped from one side of his chest to the other: Family First, it read.
Kevin Craft is survived by his mother Debbie, 49, his father Curtis and his sister Camille, 23.
Tickets for Monday's fundraiser were donated by AM Printing & Graphics in Rohnert Park, Mark Pippin paid for the T-shirts and helped get the event off the ground and Escape Paintball donated time and half of the proceeds to the family.
View the surveillance video footage released by Rohnert Park police of two people possibly tied to the killing. View the video to the right to hear personal messages from Craft's friends at Monday's fundraiser.