A mother mourning the loss of her son, who was found mortally wounded near a Lincoln Park trolley stop, was touched by her community's support at a makeshift vigil Tuesday evening but said what she truly wants is justice.
Dozens of people gathered near the intersection of 47th Street and Imperial Avenue, the spot where 22-year-old Gregory Izik Ruffin was found Sunday with apparent trauma to his upper body that ultimately led to his death.
"I want justice, I want to know why somebody would do that to my son and leave him on the street," Izik Ruffin's mother, Shay, said.
While many of the people gathered Tuesday were family, there were several people there that Shay Ruffin did not know. Those people offered their support and spoke kindly of her son.
Izik Ruffin was described as a quiet kid who kept out of trouble. He was talented, family said, a basketball player attending Grossmont Community College with the idea to become a personal trainer.
"That’s exactly who he is but it’s even more amazing when other people can say it," Shay Ruffin said. "When you hear it from somebody else, it makes this tragedy a little, little bit -- little bit, tiny bit -- better."
Shay Ruffin said her son was schizophrenic and had bipolar disorder but said he kept out of trouble. She insists the slaying was not gang-related.
Neighbors often saw him walking to the corner 7-Eleven or around the neighborhood smoking a cigarette. Shay Ruffin said it was on one of these smoke breaks that her son was killed.
"It was not abnormal [that he was out walking]. I do know this is a questionable neighborhood so I was cautious for him to be out on the streets at night," Shay Ruffin said.
His killing should be a reminder, she said, that not all kids from tough neighborhoods are trouble makers.
She saw Izik Ruffin leave their home around 10 p.m. that night. A little over an hour later, San Diego police found him wounded and attempted to save his life. Their attempts were unsuccessful, though, and he was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m.
"Getting up in the morning to have breakfast with my son, he’s not there anymore. It's huge, it’s very impactful, and this is only day one. I just found out yesterday," Shay Ruffin said.
There have been no arrests in the case and investigators have not provided a suspect description.
"I do not think it was anybody that knew him," Shay Ruffin said. "I think it was wrong place, wrong time."
She believes Izik Ruffin was shot in the back while attempting to flee his killer. SDPD has not released details about how he was killed.
The department is asking for the public's help to determine the circumstances that led to the young man's death. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
The Ruffin family urged anyone who may have seen something to come forward.
"I can’t even describe. My son was with me every single day," Shay Ruffin said. "I’m his mother, I birthed him, I really want justice."
When asked what she would say to Izik Ruffin if she could speak to him now, Shay Ruffin said she would say exactly what she would say to him while he was alive.
"I love you, momma got you. And I still got you."