A motorist was shot dead by another on a San Francisco highway in the US, as his two sons watched horrified. It is described as an instance of road rage.
The 37-year-old Luis Al Solari had to pay with his life for cutting off another. He had picked up his two sons from school Wednesday and was driving along Interstate 280 to get his wife at the end of her workday. In a fading sunlight, he apparently cut off another motorist and was fatally shot.
AdvertisementHis sons, seat-belted in the back of the burgundy Honda as Solari slumped over, could do nothing as the car spun from one side of the freeway to the other before stopping in some ice plants. They were not injured, but their father was dead.
Police said someone pulled alongside Solari's car a little later and fired several shots. Investigators have no clue except that the shooter was in a light-colored sedan with two other men.
At the family's home on Thursday, Solari's youngest son, 7-year-old Lorenzo, matter-of-factly recounted what happened to his dad.
"I saw three guys in a car," said the boy, his mother at his side. "They were making a mean face at daddy and daddy made a mean face at them.
"One of the guys in the car stuck his hand out the window and shot daddy in the tummy. He prayed and fell down," the boy said. "He was breathing and then he stopped. I looked at his stomach and he was bleeding. And then his mouth was bleeding."
Solari's wife, meanwhile, was on a San Francisco street corner, at Mission and Foote, waiting for him and her children.
"I called him at 6:20 and chewed him out on his voice mail. He's never late," said Lilia Guzman-Solari, 30.
She became worried, calling again at 6:40. By 7 p.m. she was furious, thinking he had taken the boys to a baseball game and forgotten about her. She called him a few more times, then walked to her cousin's house, where a housemate mentioned a fatal accident on I-280.
"After that it was chaotic," she said Thursday, her eyes welling. "I was yelling. We went to the hospital and they told me he was gone."
Solari had worked as an appliance installer and truck driver for 18 years at Cherin's Appliance in San Francisco's Mission District. He had an excellent driving record and no problems with anger or road rage, his employer said.
"He was the sweetest, most pleasurable guy to be around," said co-owner Donald Cherin, who hired Solari just after Solari graduated from San Francisco's Mission High. "Even under stress, he was never frazzled."
On his days off, Solari often helped friends move or work on their house projects.
Around his neighborhood in Richmond's Iron Triangle, he acted as a father figure to dozens of youngsters. He played baseball and basketball with them, took them to games, barbecued hot dogs for them and always welcomed them into his home, neighbors said.
"There are a lot of single moms here, and he helped them out and helped nurture all the children," said Audrey Antoine, who has lived down the street from the family for about nine years. "The children will have a real void in their lives. Al will truly, truly be missed."
Solari was looking forward to hosting a barbecue for family and friends later this month to celebrate his 38th birthday. After that, he and his wife were going to start looking for a new house, someplace safer to raise their children, San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Now, everything's on hold. Guzman-Solari said her main priority was helping her sons cope with the trauma.
"I have to be calm and strong for them," she said. "If they see me fall apart, they'll fall apart."
The shooting is the second deadly assault on a Bay Area freeway in a week, police said.
On April 3, a woman driving a car on Interstate 80 was shot and killed. A suspect was arrested in that case Wednesday in Las Vegas. On April 1, a man driving on the same stretch of freeway was shot and injured near.