“My heart was shattered to pieces”: Remembering Alan Blueford

Photo: A younger Alan Blueford, a Skyline High School student who was shot in the back by then-Oakland police officer Miguel Masso

Interview with Jeralynn and Adam Blueford

On May 6, 2012, then-Oakland police officer Miguel Masso shot and killed 18-year old Alan Blueford, a student at Skyline High School. Masso shot Alan in the back, as he was running away. Alan is survived by his parents, Jeralynn and Adam Blueford.

The following is an edited excerpt from a longer interview with them:

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Jeralynn: His smile would light up the room. It was something special about this kid, all the way around. And I get that all the time from every friend, every person that knew him, his conversation.

And more than three or four of his friends would say that they have a hard time seeing me because they see him in me and that they would kind of get jealous because we had such a close bond and such a good relationship that they would want that with their mom. And that whenever he called me wherever, whatever he was doing, like you always showed up. He would say, wait a minute, I’m going to call my mom. I’m hungry. And you would come and bring him a burger. Or you would come and pick him up.

And you know, just those kinds of things. It, one, solidified the love between us, that other people could see our love. And also it just magnifies the loss.

So yeah, I miss that kid.

Adam: I can say that Alan was wise beyond his age. Every time I cooked something or have something good to eat, I could tell if he liked it or not. And I don’t cook all the time. So it’s just something that we had between me and him. I could tell just the way he looked if he liked it or not, and he’ll be ready to give me a big grin. He had a real great big smile. You know, I’ll tease him a little and say how he like it or whatever. We’ll go on from there.

I spoke to Alan that night, about a half an hour or so before he was murdered. He was calling me. And I didn’t know if he might’ve wanted me to come pick him up. I always got that in my mind. But he was telling me he was in Oakland. He’s okay. He’s waiting on a girl in a white Chrysler to pick up. He was there about to walk into the Booker’s [liquor] store. I told him Oakland is a rough place, watch out, this and that. This was happening about a half an hour before that happened. So he called me and he was ready to, he’s trying to get a ride home actually.

He didn’t make it.

Jeralynn: When he died, I had a nervous breakdown.

I was really bad. Like I couldn’t stop crying, like days on days and days and weeks and months.

I could never keep my focus. I could never go a day without crying. When I saw other mothers with their kids, I would just feel terrible because I didn’t have my love.

For a long time, I didn’t want to even open my heart in that way because my heart was shattered to pieces. And I didn’t feel like I could love. And that love hurt so bad that I didn’t want… I just closed myself off. And then I went through a period of anger. And I did everything out of anger.

“For a long time, I didn’t want to even open my heart… because my heart was shattered to pieces.”

When a tragedy like that happens to you, you think it’s just you. Grief is very personal. And you feel like nobody will ever understand how you feel.

But when you’re hurt that deeply, it’s a dark, dark place. And it’s very difficult to live or even maneuver through the dark.

And it’s a really tough thing to do. Especially like my husband said, knowing how he was treated and the things that they did to him. And it wasn’t, you know, the story they tell that…. It’s not like the good guys and the bad guys. It’s not like cowboys and Indians or anything like that. What it is, is because of the color of your skin that you’re treated in that way.

And for somebody [to] just look at a person and decide that they’re not good or they’re bad because of the color of their skin, it’s awful. Nobody should be judged in that way. Nobody.

I will not stop. I can’t stop. I’ll never stop until we get justice for Alan Blueford.

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Jeralynn and Adam Blueford have both since been on the frontlines in the fight against police violence. Despite community outcry and a history of violent offenses by Officer Masso, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declined to press charges against the officers involved in Alan’s death, as she has with every other case that has come before her in her tenure. Officer Masso is currently employed by the Hollister Police Department where he has also brutalized other community members, including an elderly man. The family is circulating a petition to fire him, linked below. 

Links:

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This story is part of the series TAKEN FROM US: Remembering lives lost to police violence.

This piece was recorded and reported by Wren Farrell and edited and produced by Lucy Kang

First aired on UpFront on July 1, 2020

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