Family mourns 22-year-old shot, killed at his own birthday celebration


Heart-broken words, from a grieving mother.

“My son had a heart of gold for everybody, his family, his friends,” she said through tears. “He’s not in no gang, he wasn’t in the streets stealing, he went to work everyday.”

And words from a tiny nephew, too small to fully understand.

“He used to stay up all night with me, we were watching movies.”

Both mourning “Niko” Poland, shot and killed inside this home, near Gettysburg and Fresno streets, around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, surrounded by dozens.

The crowds there, to celebrate his birthday.

The suspected shooter, 16-years-old.

Poland’s sister Amanda, shocked.

“Very gentle, very gentle,” Amanda telling us. “Big old teddy bear.

“Loves all of us, these babies; he’s been there since I was pregnant.”

Police say five Bulldog gang members showed up, left, then came back five to 10 minutes later.

The shooter, firing his gun into the ceiling.

Poland, tried to wrestle the gun away.

“At some point, the suspect was able to pull away from Poland, while still armed with that handgun, and fired rounds at Poland,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Sunday.

Poland’s family says, he didn’t even know his killer.

“They came with somebody that my brother knew, that’s kind of where we’re at with that,” Amanda said.

Monday night, a crowd gathering on the front lawn of that home.

Some holding candles, silently paying respects.

His family, hopes the shooter, also pays.

“He was good to everybody, there wasn’t anybody that he came across in his life, that he wouldn’t help or do anything for,” the victim’s mother said. “So whatever he got coming to him, so be it.”

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