A tearful candlelight vigil greeted home-bound city commuters Friday evening, as more than 160 mourners gathered at the corner of 6th and Williams Streets to remember 22-year-old Robert Fitzgerald, murdered there one week before.
“Don’t be driven by anger and rage,” pleaded one speaker, as the stanzas of Amazing Grace rose over the crowd and into the chill air. “But use the power of love and peace.”
According to police, Robert Fitzgerald — Bobby to his friends — died from a single bullet wound to the chest, Friday at about 5:45 p.m. Fitzgerald had been driving with four other men and had pulled his vehicle over to a dark spot so one of his passengers could urinate.
While this passenger was out of the car he was approached and confronted by the suspect, described by Homicide Inspector Donald Mason as “a dark-skinned Latin male in his 20s, about 5-foot-nine-inches tall, husky, with a mustache and goatee, and wearing a 49er’s cap.”
The suspect followed the man back to Fitzgerald’s car, where he produced an automatic pistol and demanded money from Fitzgerald. Witnesses in the car told police Fitzgerald responded by trying to placate the suspect, but when Fitzgerald attempted to start the engine, the suspect shot him once in the chest and walked off.
He took no money from either the victim nor from the passengers in the car, police said.
According to the victim’s father, Adam Strong, Fitzgerald’s passengers bundled him into the back of the car and rushed him to nearby City General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Strong said witnesses in the car told him that his son’s last words had been, “One love.”