Pregnant teen’s death leaves void, community mourns

McCoy shot days before her baby shower


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Gateway to College student Abigail Campana writes in the journal at the memorial for Nicole Hazel McCoy in the Applied Arts Building on Monday.

By Roxana Amparo, Editor-in-Chief

Family and friends were getting ready for 18-year-old Nicole Hazel McCoy’s baby shower, but instead found themselves preparing for a funeral after she died in the middle of the street after being shot in the upper chest.

“When officers got there she was transported to Highland Hospital (in Oakland) where she and her unborn child did not survive the trauma,” San Pablo Police Department Commander Sid DeJesus said.

It happened on 17th Street in San Pablo on Sept. 5 at about 7:50 p.m., DeJesus said.

The death of McCoy left a void in the hearts of Contra Costa College’s Gateway to College and Richmond High School students who knew her.

McCoy was eight months pregnant and was set to have her baby shower on Sept. 9, but she died four days before it occurred, Gateway to College Resource Specialist Anna Chuon said.

Two suspects have been arrested on suspicion of murder, DeJesus said.

Richmond High School junior Luis Morales was taken into custody first, he said.

“The other individual, Luciano Rogelio Duarte, turned himself in the following day after Morales was taken into custody on Sept. 7,” DeJesus said.

Gateway to College student Blanca Lopez said the shooter, who was close friends with McCoy, turned himself in because he knew what he did was wrong.

DeJesus said it is an ongoing investigation. They are still trying to identify other suspects and witnesses.

But he said both suspects in custody will be questioned by Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson and he will review all the potential charges.

“They will include a charge of homicide — potentially two counts of homicide because of the unborn child — along with conspiracy to commit murder and other charges as appropriate,” DeJesus said.

Chuon said the Wright Institute, a counseling program serving Gateway to College and Middle College High School here at CCC, created a therapy circle in the Gateway Office to provide students a space to mourn and share their feelings.

CCC’s Gateway to College program set up an altar on the second floor of Applied Arts Building, outside of the Gateway to College Office, with a booklet her friends, and students she never met, filled with loving messages.

“When the news broke, we had a lot of students in the (Gateway Office) crying,” Chuon said. “They wouldn’t even make it to class sometimes.”

DeJesus said officers responded to a disturbance report from neighbors who said they heard shots fired, near 17th Street in San Pablo. When officers got to the location, the victim was found lying in the middle of the street, and they immediately called for medical attention.

“We had a conversation about what she was going to name the baby,” Gateway to College student and McCoy’s friend of five years Ashley Stevenson said.

“Annaessia Faith Lowe McCoy,” Stevenson said was the name McCoy would have given her baby.

“Everyone calls the baby ‘Baby Faith.’ Faith was her middle name,” Stevenson said.

DeJesus said, “I personally do not know how far along in the pregnancy she was, but she was, in fact, pregnant. The only motive we have at this point is that it was a dispute, but we cannot go into great detail.”

Although San Pablo Police Department has yet to release information, there have been some conversations among McCoy’s friends.

“All I know is that she was outside of (the house of the father) and it was a drive-by shooting and no one knew the guy,” Stevenson said.

Gateway to College student Jose Ramirez, who knew McCoy personally while attending Richmond High School, said she was shot during an altercation between McCoy’s boyfriend and McCoy’s close friend over a debt.

“The bullet wasn’t meant for her,” Gateway to College student Jesus Jaime Romero said.

Forty-eight hours following the incident both suspects were arrested and in custody, DeJesus said.

Stevenson said, “(McCoy) was a happy and outgoing person. She wouldn’t want anyone to be sad. Even though it was really depressing, she wouldn’t want me to be sad right now.

“Her death is settling in. I thought it was a hoax because she was a nice person who didn’t get involved in drama — it’s hard to believe.”

Chuon said, “The theme of violence keeps coming up in the community and a lot of our students come from those backgrounds. It hits so close to home.”

Romero said, “She died for nothing. A lot of people die for nothing.”