An Oakland homicide victim is giving people in dire need of organ transplants new leases on life this holiday season.
Charles Butler Jr., who was shot last week in Oakland, has so far donated his liver, pancreas and a kidney to gravely ill people.
Antioch resident Daniel Murphy is recovering at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center after receiving Butler's liver. Butler's family knows Murphy from their church, and intervened on his behalf to get him the badly needed transplant.
Luke Barnes, a patient at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, has received Butler's pancreas and kidney.
The transplants happened Christmas Day.
Police on Tuesday told KGO-TV ( http://bit.ly/sJKke6) that a suspect in Butler's killing had been identified and an arrest was imminent. KGO says two others had also received organ transplants from Butler.
Butler's sister, Valerie, tells the Oakland Tribune (http://bit.ly/utsOre) knowing that her brother is helping others live makes it a little easier to deal with his death.
Butler, who recently graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy and was excited for his first assignment, was shot on Thursday while driving near his Oakland home. He was taken off life support the next day.
Valerie said two men at a local market had tried to start a fight with her brother days before the shooting. She said the two followed Butler when he left the store in his car and again tried to instigate a fight outside his house.
She said the two men waited for her brother outside the store the following day and shot him. His car wrecked just a few doors down from his home.
Liver recipient Murphy told KGO-TV that his transplant went well and that he was up and walking the morning after his surgery.
Barnes, the other identified transplant recipient, told the station that it was hard to put into words how grateful he and his family were for the donation.
"I just feel like I got a second chance on life," Barnes said. "And I just wanted to thank them from the bottom of my heart."