If you only read his , the 18-year-old in San Ramon Wednesday appeared to be living a life that glamorized money, thug life and guns.
But those who worked with him through a local youth empowerment program say there was more to him than the trail he left online.
Hayward resident Kibrom Bairu was also working at a Union City café as part of an internship program for troubled youths.
He was trying to improve his life, said owner Paddy Iyer on Thursday.
Bairu was enrolled in Hayward-based nonprofit ’s youth employment program, which got him an internship at Paddy’s Coffee House in Union City. SoulCiety's program is designed to provide at-risk and underserved youths with educational and professional development opportunities, according to the youth empowerment organization’s website.
Bairu was one of three participants interning at Paddy’s through SoulCiety.
“We work with at-risk youths trying to give them a focus on life,” café owner Iyer said.
Though he had only been interning for a month, Iyer said Bairu was a respectful, courteous and hardworking employee and one he had come to depend on.
“[Bairu] was very professional, very punctual, very dependable,” Iyer said. “We really had high hopes.”
Employees at Paddy’s and administrators at SoulCiety were devastated to learn of Bairu’s death and the circumstances surrounding it.
“It was completely unexpected,” said Aaron Horner, program director for SoulCiety. “He really was doing a great job working with us … He was a kind person, he was considerate. He took his job seriously and had a great work ethic. He was pleasant to be around.”
According to Horner, Bairu was involved with SoulCiety for about three months. As part of the program, Bairu was required to attend weekly skills workshops. He never missed a session and kept good on his commitment to Paddy’s, Horner said.
Though Horner was not able to speak on Bairu’s background, he added that Bairu was enrolled in an adult education program.
“The shame is that he’s not going to be known for who he really was because of the decision he made,” Horner said.
“If you knew him, you would see that he exhibited the skills to be a contributing member of society,” Horner said. “We’re just very saddened by the entire situation. It’s very, very unfortunate that that decision was made. Our heart goes out to his family that has to deal with the loss of someone who could have added greatly to this world.”
However, authorities say Bairu was the only suspect brandishing a firearm during Wednesday’s botched robbery at in San Ramon.
San Ramon police say Bairu was making threatening statements when he was shot once.
After being wounded, he left the store and collapsed on San Ramon Valley Boulevard. Responding officers arrested Bairu and he was taken to , where he later died.
Three other suspects in the robbery reportedly fled in a 1990s white sedan and are still being sought by police, San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder said.
The case is still under investigation, and San Ramon police ask if anyone has any information to call them at 925-973-2700.
San Ramon Patch Editor Patrck Creaven contributed to this report.