By all accounts, Quinn Boyer had accomplished much at an early age and he had a very promising future.
He had graduated from college, the fire academy and a paramedic program, he was an exemplary paramedic in Santa Clara County and he had recently been accepted into the physician assistant program at Stanford. He was also a Big Brother and a volunteer at the Order of Malta clinic in Oakland.
He was a special human being and certainly didn't deserve to die.
To the horror of the entire Bay Area community, however, the off-duty paramedic was callously gunned down in the middle of the day April 2 as he sat in his car at the intersection of Keller Avenue and Hansom Drive in the Oakland hills in what was apparently a botched carjacking attempt.
It was a shocking crime, even in a city that knows a little something about shocking crimes.
But perhaps even more confounding than the crime itself is who authorities have said committed it.
Six teenagers -- ranging in age from 13 to 16 -- have been arrested in connection with the crime.
Late last week Alameda County prosecutors decided to charge 16-year-old Christian Burton as an adult for allegedly being the triggerman in the shooting.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley made the right and, we think, obvious call in charging Burton as an adult. The evidence in the case appears overwhelming and, according to court records, Burton has actually admitted to pulling the trigger on the gun that killed Boyer.
The other five boys have been charged as juveniles, which is why their names have not been released by authorities.
From what we can tell of the matter, that, too, seems to be the right decision in this high-profile case.
Our hearts go out to Boyer's family and friends. We join the community chorus to offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to them.
At the same time we must confess to being profoundly sickened by the notion that such a random crime could be committed in our community. To consider that it could have been committed by people so young is nothing short of devastating.
O'Malley promised in a statement released last week that her office "will ensure that justice is served."
We certainly hope that is the case. The person who fired the shots that killed Boyer should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and those who were accessories to this dastardly crime must be prosecuted as well. We defer to O'Malley's judgment on trying the other five as juveniles; she is far more expert in such matters than we. But we do believe that the five must face serious charges even in juvenile court.
This case contains special circumstances, which ordinarily would make it eligible for the death penalty, but because of Burton's age, the prosecution cannot seek the death penalty.
Be that as it may, we urge O'Malley to pursue the case with vigor and to the fullest extent possible.