Memorial held for Aya Nakano, Reward fund Created to find his Killer

Published On June 21, 2013 | By Rob Arias | Crime & Public Safety, News & Commentary

Aya Nakano was laid to rest on Tuesday, the victim of a senseless murder following a fender-bender at a stop light along Stanford in North Oakland. He was returning home from a pick-up basketball game at Cal around 11 pm. His death was one of those “Wrong Place/Wrong Time” crimes that could happen to any of us and makes you think twice about what to do in a similar circumstance. A recent college grad, an only child, an hour before his 23rd birthday … his death couldn’t be more tragic. It was Oakland’s 46th murder this year. His killer remains at large and few details have emerged.

Nakano, who earned a degree in sociology from the University of Oregon last year, was described by friends and family as having an intense love for basketball and a passion for Motown and soul music. “He was just one of those people that you love to hang out and spend time with, because he was usually good for a laugh and had a positive energy about him.” described a former roommate at UO. “You guys made him happy,” his mother’s partner recounted from one of their final conversations, choking back her own tears. “Family made him happy.”

Meanwhile, A $30,000 fund has been established by Aya’s uncle to try to generate leads for a Backlogged and understaffed Oakland PD with a dismal track record of convictions. It was noted last week in this article that the OPD has 47 vacant positions despite approved funding to fill them. Mayor Jean Quan said the city’s human resources department is so understaffed its being run by the city treasurer. The department should have 12 people on staff but has only four. | More on 

Three ways to submit tips:

1. Text TIP OAKLANDPD to 888777 from your cell phone
2. Call our toll-free tip hotline at 855-TIPS-247 (855-847-7247)
3. Connect with OPD through automated mobile alerts

For more information, please contact the Media Relations Office at (510) 238-7230 or email them at

The OPD Media Release (PDF) →
Donate to the Aya Nakano Reward Fund →


A more complete picture of the toll of Homicide on Oakland can be seen in this 2012 Infographic created by The Oakland Tribune:


About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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