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Family grieves for Santa Rosa shooting victim, 23

  • Oscar Valencia 2011

Four days after 23-year-old Oscar Valencia was shot in the head Saturday morning, the man accused of killing him been charged with murder and his grieving family struggles to understand how an apparent misunderstanding turned deadly.

Valencia, his older brother Jaime and two friends were sitting in a car outside a house near Cumberland Street and Homestead Lane around 2 a.m. as they waited to meet up with some girls they had met clubbing that night.

As they were waiting, a van suddenly pulled up close to their car at an odd angle, its bright lights flooding the interior and disorienting the occupants, Jaime Valencia recalled.

"It seemed like he was looking for trouble," Valencia said.

The man in the van seemed to be saying something to someone in the car, but it wasn't clear who he was talking to or about what, he said.

Oscar Valencia, tall and athletic, got out of the car and exchanged words with the van driver, asking him what his problem was, as the others tried to defuse the situation, Jaime Valencia said. Just as everyone seemed to realize that man knew one of the car's occupants and a misunderstanding had occurred, he walked off, leaving his van with in the middle of the street.

The man then emerged from a nearby house carrying a gun, Valencia said.

He waved it around briefly, trained it on Oscar Valencia, and shot him in the face, his brother said.

"Honestly, I thought I was next," said Valencia, 30.

The suspected shooter, Latroy Denard Clinton Sr., 39, appeared in court Tuesday where he was arraigned on a murder charge.

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