Graveyard shooting is California town’s first homicide in nearly 25 years

Colma, Calif., is a tiny town in San Mateo County known for its cemeteries.
Colma, Calif., a tiny town in San Mateo County known for its cemeteries, reported its first homicide since 1997.
(Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)

The tiny town of Colma, Calif., where most of the land is taken up by cemeteries, reported its first homicide in more than two decades, and the attack took place in a graveyard, officials said this week.

Police were called to Olivet Memorial Park, one of 17 massive, manicured cemeteries in the town, just before 9:30 p.m. Monday to investigate a shooting, officials said in a news release.

There they found 26-year-old Jaquan Cheatham of Citrus Heights suffering from gunshot wounds. Cheatham was transported to a hospital, where he died, police said.

Colma Police Cmdr. Sherwin Lum said it appeared that Cheatham was among a group who was visiting a gravesite at the cemetery when the shooting occurred. The attack, which is still under investigation, was an “isolated incident with no threat to the general public,” officials said.


Olivet Memorial Park
(Los Angeles Times)

The shooting death was the first homicide in Colma since 1997, Lum said. The Bay Area town is only about two square miles in size and has fewer than 2,000 residents. It’s most known for its sprawling cemeteries, where nearly 2 million are buried.

“It’s a relatively safe city, so this is an unfortunate situation,” Lum said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at (650) 997-8321. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call (650) 997-8337.