Memorial honored slain SF State BECA major
Police have not named a suspect for the case
September 20, 2007 9:10 PM
About two weeks after 22-year-old SF State senior John Schirra was found dead in an empty lot near his Ingleside home, his family and friends attended his memorial service in Walnut, Calif. The service was held on Saturday.
Schirra’s childhood friend Tim Sandburg said many friends and family members knew him by the name Daniel. When Daniel and Tim were in junior-high, they would go to Schirra’s home to play computer games after school.
“He would always beat me,” said Sandburg.
“I’ve been playing video games since I was about two years old,” Schirra wrote in an autobiography project for a class in the spring of 2007.
Sandburg recalled Schirra as often wearing a smirk, as if on the verge of laughter: “This ‘What are you gonna do?’ look on his face.”
He was a stubbornly opinionated speaker, but also an inexhaustibly respectful listener, Sandburg said. He loved the San Francisco nightlife, and enjoyed slam-dancing to experimental rock music, and plucking chords on his classical guitar.
Schirra leaves behind his parents, Robin and John Schirra, of Walnut, Calif. and his older sister Rachel. In his autobiography, Schirra wrote that his parents did a good job of making things seem normal when money was tight.
“My dad’s (engineering) business is now doing very well, and my mom teaches kindergarten,” he wrote.
Daniel’s mother Robin Schirra said that he was the easiest baby ever. “He was an adventurous little guy, never afraid to go somewhere new,” Robin said.
As a teenager, “he was a little kid-magnet,” said Robin, who remembers Daniel being liked by babies, toddlers and cats alike. He valued honesty and cared about people, but had little patience for hypocrisy, according to Robin.
Schirra was born on July 24, 1985, in Fullerton, California, and raised in the small suburb town of Walnut. For lack of anything better to do, Daniel played soccer and softball, though “he hated organized sports, according to his friend Tim Sandburg.
Schirra wrote that after reading Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book Of Five Rings,” he took a sharp interest in sword fighting. In his early teens he joined a kendo dojo to practice Japanese fencing.
He graduated high school and was accepted into UC Irvine, where he majored in Japanese. “After my second year at Irvine, a complete lack of direction and goals, combined with an utter hatred of the city, compelled me to take a semester off to rethink my college career,” he wrote.
In 2005, Schirra moved to San Francisco, joining Sandburg and other good friends, to study audio production at SF State’s school of Broadcast and Electronic Creative Arts.
Sandburg said the SFPD told him Schirra was the seventh homicide this year in the Ingleside neighborhood.
“Ingleside is right there, and I think it would be respectful to the SF State community to warn the (college) kids how dangerous the Oceanview-Ingleside area is,” said Sandburg. “You just don’t dream about something like this happening.”
Schirra was found on the morning of September 3 in a lot on the 2600 block of San Jose Avenue, a short drive from the SF State campus. Three SFPD homicide detail inspectors have been assigned to the investigation, but no suspects have yet been identified.
The SFPD medical examiner has still not determined the cause of death in the killing, according to Dewayne Tully of the SFPD Public Affairs Office.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact SFPD homicide inspector Kevin Jones at (415) 553-1145. Anonymous information may be given at (415) 575-4444.
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