Family creates backpack giveaway to honor slain Berkeley musician

Alex Goodwin Jr. Photo: Courtesy of the Goodwin family

The family of Alex Goodwin Jr., fatally shot one year ago outside his home near Berkeley’s San Pablo Park, has created an organization to honor him, and aims to hold a backpack giveaway this weekend to help local youth.

The family is hoping for the community’s support for the giveaway, the new organization’s first effort, and created a GoFundMe page with a $1,000 goal to help collect donations. Goodwin’s older sister, Aneka Patterson, told Berkeleyside the money will be used to buy school supplies and backpacks.

Goodwin, who went by the nickname “AyeGee” in reference to his initials, was just 22 when he was shot as he walked outside the family home at Mabel and Burnett streets Aug. 18, 2016. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Goodwin was Berkeley born and raised: He attended Cragmont Elementary School, King Middle School and Berkeley High.

Patterson said the family has been passing out fliers at local events and farmers markets in recent weeks to let people know about the backpack giveaway. The idea is to fill the bags with school supplies for youth who can’t otherwise afford them.


They hope the Berkeley High School annual all-class reunion picnic, this Saturday at San Pablo Park, will be their first chance to hand out the backpacks.

“Our main purpose is just to kind of bring some positivity back into Berkeley because it’s really getting out of control and really dangerous sometimes,” Patterson said. “And keep Alex’s name alive. Because he was just a positive person that didn’t really bother anyone.”

Patterson said the family has been working for the past few months to put together an organization to honor him. They recently got the OK to receive donations and move forward with some of their ideas. The organization is called “All Things AyeGee.”

“We just wanted to think of positive stuff that he likes, and then bring it to life within the community,” she said.

That includes his love of children, and his passion for basketball and music.


“A lot of people didn’t know he loved kids,” Patterson said. “He helped at our grandmother’s day care, and he helped with my kids, too.”

Another idea, in the future, could be a basketball tournament with trophies or prize money for local youth, she said. And the family hopes to offer mentorship opportunities for budding musicians, too. They hope to connect local artists who write music, direct videos or make beats to share their skills and experience with youth.

Goodwin was a talented musician and part of a music collective called Neighborhood Heavy.

Aneka Patterson, sister of slain Berkeley rap musician Alex Goodwin Jr., was one of many speakers at a January public safety meeting who asked police to help get justice for her brother. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Patterson said it has been a difficult year for the family.

“It’s just been the hardest year of my life,” she said. “Not only has it affected all the adults in our life, for my kids that was their favorite uncle.… They’re like: ‘Where’s Alex? Where’s Alex?’ It’s so hard to tell them that they’re never see him again.”


No arrests have been made in the case, and Goodwin said her mother often calls Berkeley police investigators to see if there have been any updates or leads. She said her mother was also planning to organize a group to go to BPD to ask for answers and information.

The family has previously pleaded publicly with anyone who has information about the homicide to come forward and share it with authorities. Patterson said she knows people are afraid to do so, but hopes they will find a way.

“If you do know something, please, please come forward to tell — because it’s tearing a whole family apart,” she said.

Her grandmother, who is in her 70s, has been having health issues and is considering moving out of her longtime South Berkeley home — where the killing happened — because of safety concerns.

Patterson said police may be able to provide witness protection to anyone who comes forward with pertinent information, and help with relocation expenses and job placements.

“I didn’t know that,” she said. “They really offer a lot, if someone comes forward.”

She said the reward money for information leading to arrests in the case is up to $20,000.

Patterson said the community has been incredibly helpful and supportive as the family struggles to heal.

“It’s a blessing,” she said. “We just pray every day for justice, for somebody to come forward and say something. Because he didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

Police ask anyone with information about the case to call the BPD Homicide Detail at 510-981-5741.