CONCORD, CA (April 5, 2023) — As widely reported this week locally, Pleasant Hill saw a senseless act of violence early Monday morning. A gunman fatally shot 37-year-old Concord resident Oscar Laredo Arellano in a bar parking lot on Contra Costa Boulevard. As the investigation by Pleasant Hill Police continues, our community grapples with this tragic loss. In this difficult time, some may find solace in remembering Oscar for who he was, instead of how his life ended.
Oscar lived in Concord for decades with his mother Ana, brother Francisco, and sister Ana. The Ygnacio Valley High School graduate had ambitions of one day opening his own business. This led him to New York, where he worked in high-end fashion for roughly ten years before returning to Concord a few years ago.
Upon returning to Concord, Oscar continued his schooling and worked two jobs. One of those was bartending at Vinnie’s Bar & Grill in downtown Concord, where his brother had been working for the last 14 years.
“Oscar was a very beautiful person,” shares owner Vinnie Mancuso Parker. “He always dressed nicely, always wore top-quality brands…. That’s who he was; he wanted the outside to match the inside.”
News of the tragedy reached the business by way of an eyewitness who headed over from the scene to Vinnie’s shortly before closing time.
“I first canceled entertainment Monday through Saturday to give people time to process. At the same time, it’s kind of hard to tell 300 people to not show up when they’re used to it,” explains Parker, referring to Thursdays’ popular Latin Night, which Oscar routinely worked. The wildly popular event offers a club-like atmosphere featuring salsa, bachata, cumbia, and raggaeton.
“So we decided to turn it into a fundraiser, use that positive energy for recovering, and funnel all the funds to the family, so that they can pay for the funeral.”
As the news spread, Oscar’s friends were quick to express their sadness and outrage.
“Every time I would be at Vinny’s, Oscar would always provide a kind and great service while bartending,” said Oscar’s friend Mapache Hernandez. “He always looked out and protected LGBTQIA+ people in the bar. He made our community feel comfortable and safe. I’m so thankful for getting to know Oscar, not only as a bartender but also as a person.”
Christian Aguirre, a director at the Rainbow Center in Concord where Oscar was known, says, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Oscar Laredo Arellano. “We hope that there are meaningful findings from any forthcoming investigations and that justice is served in relation to this horrendous murder. We offer our sincere condolences to Oscar’s friends and family; this is a tremendous loss for the entire community.”
The 21-and-over fundraiser event officially kicks off at 9 p.m., coinciding with Latin Night. The cover charge is doubled to $20 to help with the fundraising.
To accommodate others from the community who want to take part, a second fundraiser will be held this Saturday at the same time. Oscar’s family will be in attendance at both events.
Vinnie’s Bar & Grill is at 2045 Mt. Diablo St., Concord.
Dave Hughes is a local music advocate with an extensive network of independent artists. He produces and hosts a local music program on KVHS called The Beat of Diablo, every Sunday at 7:00 PM on 90.5 FM. Dave also catalogs local music releases at ConcordRockCity.com.