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Phat Vin Le's father, Kevin Le, asks for help identifying his son's killers.

Police, family ask for help in solving 2009 murder of Phat Vin Le

on October 9, 2014

The Oakland Police Department on Thursday announced that thanks to the generosity of Crime Stoppers of Oakland and an additional private donation, a reward for information relating to a 2009 homicide case has more than doubled to $25,000.

On October 10 it will be five years since the murder of Phat Vin Le. Phat Le, as his family and friends called him, was only 20 years old when he was shot and killed outside his home on 23rd Street in Oakland.

OPD Homicide Division Officer Phong Tran has been following Le’s case since the beginning. Today, along with Le’s mother, father and close family friends, they urged the public to come forward with anything they may have seen or heard on that day five years ago.

Tran said that even though no witnesses had come forward in five years, they still might. Tran said that sometimes what keeps witnesses from sharing their observations is feeling threatened by the suspects, in which case, the passing of time may motivate someone who may have initially felt afraid.

Le was coming home from work on the night he was shot. According to Tran’s investigation, Le was shot by a suspect who may have intended to rob him, but fled the scene after shooting him. Tran believes there was a second suspect driving a getaway car.

Le was known for his career as a high school star athlete who played on a Pop Warner football team, and remembered by those who knew him well for his cheerful outlook on life. Francie Dows, a family friend who knew Le since he was a little boy, said that he didn’t have trouble with anyone. “Phat was a good kid,” she said. “He didn’t owe anyone money and was definitely not involved with gangs.”

Kevin Le, his father, ended the press conference with a plea. “I am a Vietnam War veteran and I brought my son to America to have a better life,” said Le fighting tears, “but he was taken from me.” His voice grew agitated as he pressed on, “I am begging for help from the community to help to identify who did this. This is the most important thing in my life.”

A candlelight vigil to honor Le’s life is planned for Thursday night at 6:00 pm at 2100 E. 23rd Street in Oakland, across the street from his family’s former home.

Possible witnesses can leave anonymous tips via on the OPD Homicide line: 510-238-3821, via text at TIP OAKLANDPD to 888777 from a cell phone, by calling the toll-free tip hotline at 855-TIPS-247 , or on the web at

Image: Phat Vin Le’s father, Kevin Le, asks for help identifying his son’s killers.

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