A young Bay Area man was in graduate school at California State University East Bay in hopes of having his own business one day when a bullet killed him in 2020.
Jarin Purvis, 28, was born in Fremont and graduated from Hayward High School, where he was a running back on the football team before attending Chabot College and CSU East Bay for a bachelor's degree.
He was working on a master's degree to fulfill a promise that he made to his mom. He worked at Apple and was known as the "car expert," helping purchase, repair or find vehicles for anyone looking for one, according to an obituary published after his death.
Purvis' parents are upset about Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price's choice of charges for the man who held the gun that killed Purvis in 2020 in the unincorporated community of Castro Valley.
Purvis died when a gun allegedly went off by accident on the night of April 28, 2020, on Redwood Court and a bullet struck him in the face.
James Vega, 32, was originally charged with murder in the case, but Price announced earlier this month that prosecutors are now seeking involuntary manslaughter charges against Vega and no gun enhancements.
Price has been criticized publicly for being too lenient on crime since she took office. Price announced June 1 that gun enhancements would be used "sparingly when appropriate," rather than automatically applied.
Purvis' parents Patricia Harris and James Purvis want Vega to at least be charged with voluntary manslaughter, and Harris and her husband also want Price to maintain the gun enhancements against Vega.
"He used a gun," Harris said. "He killed someone."
Purvis allegedly told Vega numerous times not to point the gun in his face, his parents said in an interview this month.
His parents also allege, based on what witnesses said, that Vega wanted to dump their son's body in Oakland following the fatal shooting. When 911 was called, Vega had already allegedly dragged Purvis' body to the front door of the apartment where the shooting took place.
Vega allegedly called Jarin Purvis his friend, but his parents dispute that, saying their son knew Vega from car auctions.
"They did hang out here and there," but Vega was not part of her son's group of friends, Harris said.
Harris alleges Vega is a threat to society. He was firing a gun in the air while driving through Oakland before the fatal shooting and the gun jammed, she alleged.
At the apartment, before Jarin Purvis was shot, someone took it apart and cleaned the gun, Harris said.
Vega now says he didn't know there was a bullet in the gun, Harris alleged.
Vega was released from jail during the pandemic and allegedly did not go back to court when he was supposed to, Harris said. He was arrested in Hayward in January 2021 and has been in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin since then, according to jail records.
He is scheduled to appear in court again this Friday (June 23). Under an amended complaint, he won't face a strike under California criminal law if convicted of the involuntary manslaughter charge.
Court documents indicate a contradiction in the story Vega told to deputies. He allegedly first told deputies that Jarin Purvis shot himself. Later, Vega allegedly told deputies he was manipulating the gun and accidentally shot Jarin Purvis.
Court documents also said statements "gathered from all the involved parties" were inconsistent.
Harris and her husband said on June 9 that Price won't meet with them following numerous requests.
A letter from Price to Jarin Purvis' parents said that Price is unable to meet with them promptly because of other work her office needs to do, such as filling vacancies she inherited and meeting deadlines for submitting the office's fiscal 2023-24 budget.
Price said on June 6 that Vega shouldn't spend decades behind bars "for a tragic mistake," but Harris said, "Our son is never coming back. What about that?"
Vega's attorney Anne Beles was unavailable to comment on the allegations made by Harris and her husband against Vega.