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Rajneel Kamal Sharma

Death 28 Dec 2006
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 17306818 · View Source
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South Sacramento family mourns son killed in shooting
By Ryan Lillis - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Friday, January 5, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

Two men step behind a strip mall on a windswept and clear afternoon. Both are 19 years old and both are armed, according to the police.

Only one emerges.

That was how the paths of Rajneel Kamal Sharma and James Willis crossed on Dec. 27, in an alley behind a row of stores in the Glenwood Meadows neighborhood that offer tax advice, pizza and packs of cigarettes for cheap. During what police said may have been a minor drug deal, two shots were fired and both men were struck.

Sharma, a popular young man known as Romeo, would die from his wound, his body found moments after the sound of gunfire snapped out of the quiet alley. Many workers in the Norwood Avenue shopping plaza, on Sacramento's north side, know his family. Before long, with the help of a vast network of cellular phones, the parking lot was filled with grieving relatives and friends.

Two days later, Sacramento police said, Willis, suffering from a gunshot wound, turned himself in at a local hospital.

He was booked on suspicion of gun possession by a convicted felon.

Today, hours after Willis appears in Sacramento Superior Court, Sharma's family will begin a 12-night Hindu mourning ritual that includes nightly prayers and songs. On the 13th day, the family will cook a feast of rice, spinach, cabbage and spices, placing the food under a tree in their backyard "so Rajneel will have it first," the young man's parents said.

"What I want to know is why they did this," said his mother, Subhar Sharma. "My son is gone forever. He does not belong to us anymore. He belongs to God."

Sitting on her living room floor Thursday afternoon surrounded by her family, Subhar Sharma had just come from her son's funeral. At a midday ceremony in south Sacramento, 500 people remembered the young man as a funny, cheerful person.

"Life won't be the same without him," said his cousin, Roshelle Gill.

"And neither will his family. He was our light."

The memorials are taking many forms. A shrine has been built at the spot in a rough patch of bushes where Sharma's body fell. It is much like the memorials that are built wherever a homicide victim falls, made up of candles, flowers and rain-soaked notes. Sharma's memorial included several empty liquor bottles.

And Sharma's sisters are wearing newly printed sweat shirts with a photograph of their brother wearing a wide smile and a caption that reads, "Rest In Peace."

"There's no one that could replace him," said his 15-year-old sister, Kaveeta.

Rajneel Sharma, a graduate of River City High School in West Sacramento, had already begun talking about his sister's sweet 16th birthday later this year.

He had spoken about renting out a banquet hall and walking her into the room. That party will be canceled as the Sharma family mourns for a full year.

"It was time for him to start helping me now," said Kamal Sharma, Rajneel's father. "I need to know what happened or I'm going to be crying every night until I find out."

Police said Willis was arrested on suspicion of gun possession -- not homicide -- because both men fired their weapons.

Sharma's family doesn't believe the kid who once cried in fear at the sight of Santa Claus and was nicknamed "neelu" -- pretty face -- would act so violently.

"He was funny and kind," said his father.

"He got along with everyone."

Kamal Sharma, like many of the men in his family, shaved his head on Thursday in preparation for his son's funeral.

Rubbing his scalp, he recalled how his son would lecture him about quitting smoking, saying it would one day kill him.

"Look at what happened to him," the father said, his eyes staring blankly at the driveway.

About the writer:
The Bee's Ryan Lillis can be reached at (916) 321-1085 or


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Sandra Tyler Duncan
  • Added: 5 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17306818
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rajneel Kamal Sharma (unknown–28 Dec 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17306818, ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) Unknown.