Click photo to enlarge
Kitric Young, father of slain 19-year-old Dimarea Young, is embraced by a resident at vigil in Richmond, Calif., on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Young called for peace after his son was gunned down Tuesday morning. (Robert Rogers/Staff)

RICHMOND -- Kitric Young didn't have a chance to say goodbye.

When the gunman began firing, everyone scattered, including Young. When he looked up, he saw a man down. It was Dimarea, his 19-year-old son.

"He had a hole in his head," Young said, grimacing. "He was unconscious. I just held him close. That's all I could do."

Young, 40, wants to do more now. On Wednesday night, one day after his son was killed and two other men wounded when a gunman chased down and executed Dimarea in front of about 25 classmates in a city-funded vocational program, Young led a peace vigil at the site of the shooting.

The gathering drew more than 100 friends, family and neighbors, along with many of the city's elected leaders, clergy and police.

Several spoke, and many held signs and pictures of Dimarea. But the crowd hushed when it was Young's turn to be heard.

"We can pray all day, but 'faith' is an action word," Young said. "Everybody out here has lost someone they love. Don't let this rally for my son be it. We can rally all day, but what do we solve?"

Young was forthright about his own past, which he said started in the notorious and since-demolished Easter Hill housing project and included stints in prison.

But he was adamant that neither revenge nor affiliation to any neighborhood was justification for further bloodshed.

"I want the violence to stop," Young said. "No retaliation. I don't want any other parents or loved ones to feel the hurt that I feel."

Young said he had persuaded Dimarea and his other son, 21, to sign up for the RichmondBUILD construction class. Tuesday was the first day of class, and about 11 a.m. the students went for a group jog around the block. Witnesses said the killer targeted Young, shot him and fired into his body several times as he lay in the street before hopping into a white SUV and riding off.

Two other men suffered minor leg wounds but were not intended targets, police have said.

Police Chief Chris Magnus, Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and several Richmond elected leaders spoke with Young at the curbside and offered their condolences. Magnus vowed to stamp out the surge in violence.

Young said he is working with the Men and Women of Purpose, a local nonprofit group aimed at reducing violence and recidivism.

As the vigil concluded with a prayer, several mourners broke into wailing cries and bolted from the crowd. Young tracked down one sobbing teenage girl and hugged her.

"When we leave here, we can't all just turn our backs," Young said moments earlier. "We need to look out for each other."

Anyone with information about the crime can call Richmond police at 510-232-8477. Callers may remain anonymous and receive a reward.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com and follow Twitter.com/roberthrogers.