BERKELEY -- The girlfriend of a man shot to death Monday morning on a busy Berkeley street was grieving with her sons at home on Tuesday, a block away from where the man died.
Teena Alexander said the slain man, 34-year-old Zontee Jones, was comforted by her son and his friend as he lay dying on the pavement in front of an apartment complex on Delaware Street, near San Pablo Avenue. Jones lived in Berkeley and Richmond, she said.
"He's gone, but he's never going to be forgotten," Alexander said. "It was a sad and unnecessary situation because Zontee got killed over nothing. His mom is so hurting right now. It was senseless."
Jones was shot Monday at about 11 a.m. in front of 1080 Delaware St. and was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later, police said. No new information was released Tuesday about the killing, the city's first homicide of the year. No arrests have been made or suspects publicly identified.
Alexander said Jones worked as a maintenance man at her apartment building on Delaware Street, and the two had been together about six months. Her son, Antonio Francis, 20, said he and his friend cradled Jones' head in their hands as they waited for paramedics to arrive.
On Tuesday, a small row of candles lined the curb where Jones was killed.
Francis said he was standing on the sidewalk in front of his mother's apartment about a block away from where Jones was killed on Delaware Street when he heard "boom,
Francis believes Jones may have parked and got out of his car to talk to someone on the sidewalk and then was shot in the neck.
"When I heard the shots, I saw his car and ran up there," Francis said. "I tried to help him and then some woman tried to jump in his car, and I told her to get out and I backed it down to our place."
Francis' friend then stayed with Jones until paramedics came, he said.
Nick Lynch, who also lives on Delaware Street, but directly in front of the crime scene, said he heard people arguing then two gunshots and "a lot of yelling and whatnot." Lynch said he was traumatized by what he saw.
"I ran out here and saw the guy, and he was way past what I could do to help," said Lynch, who has lived on the block for just six months. "I've seen dead people, but this guy was shot, and he was dying, and it was pretty sad."
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.