Paddle Out Honors Garrett Berki


Friends and family gathered along the shore to remember Garrett Berki, the 18-year old shot and killed while answering a Craigslist ad.

Several surfers held a paddle out off the coast of Mission Beach Thursday evening to remember the Mission Beach teenager who was an avid surfer.

The layer of clouds broke and allowed the sun to shine down on the water while Berki's family and friends stood on the sand with an oversized image of the La Jolla High School grad.

Berki was shot sitting behind the wheel of a car May 11 in Paradise Hills. He and his girlfriend drove to Casey Street around 10:30 p.m. thinking they were going to buy and pickup a computer listed as for sale on Craiglist, friends said.

Instead, police said, three teenagers robbed the couple. Berki and his girlfriend followed the car hoping to get a license plate and cornered the suspect's vehicle in a nearby cul-de-sac officers said. When one of the suspects fired a gun, the bullet hit Berki killing him, investigators said.

Connie and Edward Berki joined a number of friends in a prayer circle before the paddle out.

Childhood friend Zien Garcia remembered Berki as someone with a lot of energy.

"I hope they get whatever they have coming to them," Garcia said of the suspects. "Garrett didn't deserve what he got."

Teresa Rusnak, who took part in the paddle out, said she knew Berki but not long enough. She called him a bright and shining kid with a lot of potential.

"A love and a vigor and respect for life," she said. "He made you feel good to be around."

As for the three teenagers held in connection with Berki's death, they have pleaded not guilty to charges and are being tried as adults. 

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