A Parent Scholar: the murder of Luis Solari, a father of three.

POOR correspondent - Posted on 06 July 2010

Tony Robles/PNN
Monday, April 21, 2008

I woke up and turned on an early morning news program. The announcers were clean and pressed and looked more like mannequins than humans. I listened as they reported on Obama/Clinton, budget deficits, and the upcoming Olympic games in China. I was also informed that my TV would be obsolete if I didn't purchase some kind of electric box by early 2009.

The reporter announced that a man had been shot on I-280 in a case of road rage during rush hour traffic the day before. What else is new, I asked myself. I didn't want to hear about it. I turned off the TV and jumped into the shower.

As the shower jets hit my body I began to think. I thought about my 10 year old son and the kind of world he is going to inherit. I put on my clothes and got on the bus.

I used to pray on the bus. I used to ask God to help me do what he needed me to do. I haven't prayed in a while. I don't know why. A native scholar once said that when you are silent, God is talking to you. You just have to listen.

I'm trying to listen but it's hard, especially when all you seem to hear is bad news.

It turns out that the man who was shot on I-280 was a father of 3. His name was Luis "Al" Solari. He was a graduate of Mission High School, my alma mater. He worked as an appliance installation specialist and truck driver for Cherin's Appliance on Valencia St. for 15 years. He was with his 2 children on I-280 en route to his wife who had gotten off work.

Luis apparently cut off another driver. His 7 year old son recalled 3 men exchanging "mean looks with daddy." One of the men stuck his hand out the window and fired shots. "He prayed and fell down" said Lorenzo, Luis' 7 year old son. The car swerved, coming to a halt along the side of the highway near some ice plants. Luis lay dying, bleeding from the stomach and mouth.

Luis' wife stood waiting. She thought Luis had taken the kids to a baseball game and forgotten about her. She repeatedly called Luis' cell phone. He was never late. A friend had told her about an accident on I-280. She was frantic. When she got to the hospital, her husband was dead.

Luis was a father, a worker and a husband. He was just shy of his 38th birthday. He was a positive presence in his community, a father figure to many children of single mothers in his Iron Triangle neighborhood in Richmond. He played ball and put on barbeques for the kids. He was a father and a man, a man that is needed. Now, one less man.

I pray for his wife and children. And for the children in Iraq who have witnessed the killing of their parents. And for the girl who witnessed the killing of her father in the Western Addition and the countless others who don't make it above or below the fold in "our" corporate-run newspapers.

I don't have answers. I wish I did. I wish I had a lens to look into the heart of a person that would murder a father in front of his children. I wish I could explain it. I wish I could make it go away.

I keep hearing my father's voice saying: "This life ain't promised, son."

It makes you want to give up, to throw in the towel.

I think of Luis' prayer as he lay slumped in his car on I-280.

I listen for God.

A family benefit account has been set up:

Lilia Solari Family Benefit Account
A.G. Edwards-Wachovia Bank
456 Montgomery, 16th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Anyone with information about the case are asked to call SFPD investigators at 415-553-1145

luis was my dads best friend. They grew up with each other. He was like my uncle to me. I loved him like a uncle.

luis was my dads best friend. They grew up with each other. He was like my uncle to me. I loved him like a uncle.


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