Pleasant Hill ‘remains a safe place’ despite city worker’s death, says Rinn

Pleasant Hill ‘remains a safe place’ despite park worker’s death, says Rinn

Pleasant Hill ‘remains a safe place’ despite city worker’s death, says Rinn
Makeshift memorials honoring Santiago Jacobo appeared near the area where the Pleasant Hill Park janitor died earlier this month. (David Scholz photo)

PLEASANT HILL, CA (Feb. 15, 2024) — As the investigation into the slaying of a maintenance employee working at Pleasant Hill Park continues, the reality that bits of the community’s small-town innocence are slipping away is also coming to the forefront.

Thirty-seven-year-old Santiago Jacobo, who reportedly had been working at least two jobs to support his family, joined the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District (PHRPD) in 2019.

“Santiago was an all-around good guy and everyone on our team enjoyed working with him,” said Jose Martinez, PHRPD’s lead custodian. “He was dependable, a hard worker and had a great ‘can-do’ attitude.

“He will be missed,” Martinez added.

Shocked community

Pleasant Hill police believe the homicide that left Jacobo dead from multiple stab wounds in the main parking lot along Gregory Lane occurred sometime between the late evening hours of Friday, Feb. 9, and the early hours of Feb. 10. The suspect remains unknown.

Tim Burman, who lives a block from the park, said it was common for him to walk his pet there from 8 to 9:30 p.m. with a friend – but not on the evening in question.

“Senseless,” Burman said of the killing.

Park district general manager Michelle Lacy said word of Jacobo’s death left her staff shocked and saddened.

“PHRPD has been in existence for 70 years and nothing like this has ever happened before,” she said while expressing condolences to Jacobo’s wife, two children and extended family.

Dealing with loss

Lacy made the announcement to the staff on Feb. 12, and all employees had access to mental health resources to help them cope with the traumatic event.

Meetings with staff also focused on identifying additional safety protocols that may be necessary to mitigate future risk. “Our No. 1 priority is the health, safety and well-being of our staff and the public,” she said.

In light of the horrific situation, makeshift memorials soon went up near the entrance to the aquatic building and pool area at the park. A staff member indicated it was too soon to begin thinking of a more permanent memorial to honor the loss of their friend. Rather, it was important now to take care of those he left behind.

Jacobo’s family has established a Go Fund Me account, Fundraiser by Maria Jacobo: In loving memory of Santiago Jacobo (, to help cover funeral costs and defray expenses going forward for his wife, Alejandra, and two children, son Santiago and daughter Mikaela. The generosity of 642 donors helped raise $35,852 as of Feb. 15.

“It feels so unreal how his life was taken in such a violent and cowardly way,” said Maria Jacobo, Alejandra’s sister-in-law. “Santiago was a kind, hard-working man and will be missed by many loved ones.”

Still a safe place

Mayor Matt Rinn offered his assurances to residents who might be uneasy after the tragedy.

“I know that his death has led to feelings of concern and upset in our Pleasant Hill community, but let me reassure you that Pleasant Hill is, and remains, a safe place,” he said. “The safety of our community is the No. 1 priority of our police department, and I know that they are using every resource available in finding the person responsible.”

Anyone with information related to the case can contact police at 925-288-4630.

David Scholz
David Scholz

David Scholz is back in journalism as a freelance writer and photographer after nearly two decades in education. Prior to moving into teaching in 2000, he worked as a full-time journalist since 1988 for rural community and small daily newspapers in Central Ohio and Northern Nevada, and later in California with The Business Journal in Fresno and dailies in the Bay Area, including The Oakland Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. More recently Scholz also worked in an editing, writing, and page layout role with the Rossmoor News.