The family of Daniel Carver often thinks about his smile, his laugh and his love for the arts. More than anything else, however, there’s the question.
It’s been 15 years since 33-year-old Carver died from two gunshot wounds on Aug. 8, 2007 — a murder that remains unsolved. No suspects were apprehended and no persons were charged, though several eyewitnesses were interviewed.
He left behind three daughters, one son and hundreds of questions.
“There isn’t a day for the last nearly 15 years that I have not missed Danny’s smile, his laughter, or simply the sound of his voice,” Carver’s mother, Janice Allen, told the Times-Herald. “Danny was my only son and was taken from all of us who love him far too soon. I realize there are too many of us families who have had to face the tragedy of burying someone they love far too soon. The emptiness of going on without Danny never leaves me.
“My greatest hope is that someone will come forward with some new information about why we no longer have Danny in our lives,” Danny’s mom continued. “His children deserve to know who and why he was taken from them. We all need some closure.”
Carver’s death remains a cold case. According to the family, the Vallejo Police Department has been “unhelpful and disinterested all these years” although the family said they’ve received “amazing advocacy and a huge amount of assistance from Solano County Investigator Kevin Coelho.” Both Vallejo police and Coehlo could not be reached for comment.
“Fifteen years is an incredibly painful milestone for my family,” Carver’s sister, Janice Allen II, said. “Somebody somewhere knows something; maybe seeing Danny’s name will be a catalyst. At the very least, I’d like people to know he hasn’t been forgotten, and never will be for us.”
Janice was working in Brooklyn the day she heard that Carver had been shot as he walked to a nearby store.
“I was working in a coffee shop and I had received a bunch of calls at about 8 or 9 a.m. from my mom,” she said. “That wasn’t that unusual at the time and I made a note to call her later. But then I rode my bike down the street to work and when I got there, a good friend of mine was at the coffee shop, even though she was not an employee. I thought that was weird. It turns out my work had found out and they didn’t want me to be alone when I heard the news.”
Janice was told to call her mom but when the daughter started the conversation, she couldn’t comprehend what she was hearing.
“First I thought she said, ‘Dad didn’t make it,’” Janice said. “Then my mom said, ‘No, Danny didn’t make it.’ It didn’t make any sense. There was no reason to think a 33-year-old would be in trouble. I just didn’t understand. The rest of the day is a blur, but two days later I was on a flight back home to Oakland.”
Janice says there is a lot of speculation about Aug. 8, 2007, but she attempted to describe what happened that night.
“Danny and his partner were out on a date night,” she said. “I guess he got in a fight with her and the one thing about Danny is when he is upset he likes to go for walks to cool off. The night was a little cold so he was wearing a windbreaker when he may have encountered some people at the Tower Mart.
“Danny was only 5-foot-7 so he got picked on a lot growing up,” Janice continued. “He used to get into a lot of fights growing up because of that. So he’s already upset about something between himself and his partner and then this altercation happens at the Tower Mart. I’m not sure if it started there or before that or after that, but he was chased by a car, a dark Impala. The chase started at Laurel and ended on Cedar.”
He tried to call the police after crawling to a neighbor’s porch but died a short time later. According to Janice, the woman whose porch Carver was able to make it to was shocked at the scene as she ended up pouring warm water over the blood on the porch. A short time later she moved from the area.
Janice says many people have been interviewed in the area by Coehlo, but nobody said they witnessed the event.
About three months later the family received a phone call from someone claiming they knew what happened but that the $10,000 reward wasn’t enough.
“We all looked into that, especially Coehlo, but nothing ever came of it and we didn’t receive another call,” Janice said. “I believe a burner phone was used. It was the middle of the day and it was a male voice. Sounded like a young kid according to my grandma, who took the call.”
Janice said the area where Carver was killed was known to be a pretty big drug spot, but that her brother was in the “wrong place, at the wrong time.”
“Look, Danny was no boy scout, but he wasn’t into drugs,” Janice said.
However, Janice believes Vallejo police didn’t look more into the case or have a “productive conversation” with the family because of “prior records.”
“He was never a priority,” Janice says.
Carver’s sister said that the family usually honors Daniel by going to an Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum. They plan on doing that on Sunday when the A’s face the Giants.
“Danny loved the Oakland A’s,” Janice said. “We’d always have A’s and Raider parties. We all make sure that we’re together for that day and that we celebrate his life. For his funeral, my Dad didn’t want anyone to wear black.”
Janice says that more than anything she wants to know what happened before her parents pass away. She said she’s more sad for her parents and Danny’s kids than herself.
“They got robbed of getting to know their Dad more,” she said. “It’s the free time they would have had with him that they don’t get to have that really gets to me.
“More than a day in court, we just want to know what happened,” Carver’s sister continued. “What were his last words? What was the argument about? There is so much we don’t know and all we can do is guess. The family and I just want closure. We just want some peace.”
Anything with information on the case is encouraged to contact crimestoppers at www.solanocounty.com/depts/sheriff/solano_crime_stoppers.asp. Solano Crime Stoppers Inc. is an organization designed to provide law enforcement agencies in Solano with information regarding criminal activity. All information received is confidential and informants remain anonymous. Citizens who witness a crime can call (707) 644-STOP any time of the day or night.
Former Times-Herald reporter Rachel Raskin-Zrihen contributed to this article.