PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The family of Jacob Vasquez, who was shot to death while sitting at a pizza shop in Northwest Portland, held a press conference Wednesday morning.
It would have been Jacob’s 35th birthday on Tuesday. Instead of celebrating this week, his family is speaking to the public — hoping for some sense of justice as an answer to this violence.
“We want justice for Jacob,” Wendy Vasquez-Osborn, Jacob’s sister, said. “My brother was full of life, love. Everyone who knew him in this neighborhood loved him. He was the kindest soul. He never wanted anything bad to befall anyone.”
Jacob’s brother-in-law, Don Osborn, was by Vasquez-Osborn’s side on Wednesday. He spoke directly to whoever pulled the trigger that night.
“I’m not sure if you thought what you did that night was an act of bravery,” he said. “I want to challenge you — a bigger act of bravery would be turning yourself into authorities for taking an innocent life.”
Osborn says their family wants Jacob’s death to mean something.
“We want it to mean something for this community he loved so much,” he said. “We’re going to do our part to make sure that we can make Portland a safer place and turn the homicide rate back down and not allow it to surge anymore.”
Osborn also pleaded to Portland City Council to take action — saying they’ve allowed Jacob’s death to become another statistic.
“Let’s please untie the hands of our law enforcement officers,” Osborn said. “From the research I’ve been doing, I believe if the proper tools were in place for our law enforcement officers, this wouldn’t even have happened.”
Osborn continued, saying the people of Portland need to be protected and want to feel safe in this town.
Vasquez-Osborn thanked the community for the outpouring of love their family has seen since Jacob’s death.
She described the day she got the call about her brother as the most terrible day of her life.
“I would have never expected the call I got. I was in disbelief,” Wendy said. “All we were told was he was shot in the back — we didn’t know if he was dead at first.”
Wendy said the hardest part was delivering that information to her parents.
“That was the hardest thing ever… To break the news,” she said.
Vasquez was in the outdoor dining area at the time he was struck by a bullet from a gunman who started shooting through the front entrance of Silver Dollar Pizza at NW 21st and Glisan in Nob Hill around 2 a.m. on September 24.
Investigators said the 34-year-old was likely not the intended target of the shooting. At this time, no arrests have been made.
He was sitting outside the Silver Dollar directly across from the Blue Moon, where he was a long-time employee. A spontaneous and growing memorial developed from friends, customers and strangers delivering flowers and notes.
The Blue Moon closed for a day after he was killed. On their door were handwritten notes: “We are heartbroken, exhausted by senseless violence.” On pink-lined paper someone wrote, “You are already missed. We mourn and are devastated.” And on a red heart posted at the door: “Jake V loved.”