by Marvin J. Ramírez
When San Francisco restaurateur Doris Campos gave birth to her first child, he instantly became the center of her world. She made sure that when Eric grew up, he would be a good, exemplary and educated man with strong Catholic principles. Also, he would someday become the first person in the Campos family – emigrated from El Salvador – to achieve a degree of higher education.
Campos attended Catholic schools for most of his life, from preschool and kindergarten to elementary and high school, a privilege not many Latino families can afford.
When asked if Eric ever got into any trouble, she thought deeply and said, not that she can remember. She always made sure that every school Eric attended was near their Salvadorian Panchita’s Restaurant, on 16th Street at Valencia. She monitored his whereabouts most of the time.
“That is why it hurts me most,” Campos said, as she stood during a candle vigil where her son was killed Tuesday, May 15, shot by another teenager. According to his friend, who witnessed the killing, he died quickly.
The young man’s friend, whose name is kept confidential for security reasons, was waiting for Eric across the street and was waiting to meet him, saw two young men get out of a white car to confront Eric, presumably to rob him. The friend then saw Eric running away from the two men, one of whom pointed a handgun at Campos and shot him.
Campos’ friend immediately ran to his aid, as Eric lay on the pavement at the 3600 block of San Bruno Avenue, in the Visitation Valley neighborhood.
“When I arrived to see him, I told him to stay put…he said, ‘tell my family that I love them’…didn’t last long. The bullet went directly into his heart.” Campos died at the age of 19.
The suspect, a 16-year-old teenager, was arrested Wednesday at 11 a.m. Investigators said they believe the fatal shooting was robbery-related. Police have not revealed his identity due to his age.
A preschool alum of Compañeros del Barrio at the Centro del Pueblo, he transferred to St. Charles School and attended from kindergarten through the 8th grade. He spent 9th grade at St. Ignacio, and then went to Leadership High School for the 10th and 11th grades. He finally graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 2006.
In September of last year Campos began attending City College of San Francisco pursuing a degree in graphic design, while carrying a load of 13 units. His passion, said his mother, was architecture, and he was very skilled at drawing.
“My son was very special, he liked to enjoy life.”
Monday she went to the auction with Eric, who wanted to buy a motorcycle, although he didn’t know how to ride one, but he said it would be as easy as riding a bicycle. She said he wanted it so he would go around alone. He didn’t like to walk with a group.
“He said he wanted to go around by himself…and wanted to buy a cheap motorcycle so I wouldn’t have to spend too much money.”
His girlfriend, Lisa Martínez, a psychology major at Chico State University, moved to SFSU last semester so she could be with him. They were going to celebrate their third anniversary on Sunday.
“We always talked about the future, of getting married and having five children and buy a big house,” Martínez told El Reportero. “The last time we talked that day, he said he was at his house at his family’s…told me that he would never leave me…”
Monday at 3:04 p.m. was the time of Eric’s last call to his mother. He asked to borrow her Costco card, so he could buy food for his two dogs, Hus and Remy. No one knew if he ever bought the dog’s food. He was dead at approximately 5:00 p.m.
His funeral services will be held Sunday and Monday at Duggan’s Funeral Services, at 3434 17th Street @ Valencia Street, in San Francisco. His remains will be taken to Cypress Cemetery on Tuesday after a 10:00 a.m.-mass at St. Charles Catholic Church, at 418 South Van Ness Ave., which will be officiated by Father José Rodríguez, the same priest who baptized him after he was born, gave him his First Communion, and officiated his Confirmation.
He is survived by his stepfather, Eloy Vargas, his mother Doris Campos, his sisters Doris Marilyn, 15, Jaqueline Vargas 10, his grandmother Rosa Salgado, his grand-aunt Rosa Calderon, his aunts Edelmira Campos, Alicia Campos, his uncles Joaquin, Carlos, Rutilio, and Rafael Campos.
Police are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact homicide inspectors Dennis Maffei or Daniel Everson at (415) 553-1145, or the Police Department’s confidential tip line at (415) 575-4444.