Parents want justice for 20-year-old daughter killed in Oakland hit-and-run

Oprah Cooper was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Oakland and her loved ones demanded justice for the 20-year-old as they held a vigil Tuesday night to honor her memory. 

Family and friends want the driver identified and arrested. 

Her parents said she had just celebrated the July 4 holiday with friends and was out getting a snack when she was killed.

"She was a bright spirit, ready to do whatever, so full of joy. So full of life," said her friend Flore, who declined to give her last name.  

The vigil was held near the intersection in East Oakland where she was killed.

Her parents said she had been out with a friend after enjoying a July 4 barbeque.

"I remember her being so full of life that day, ready to have fun. She was a bright spirit," said Flore.  

But Cooper's life was cut short suddenly shortly after midnight July 5 at the intersection of 85th Avenue and San Leandro Street. 

Her parents said she was the passenger in a car that a girlfriend was driving when another driver hit their car.

Police said the two young women ran after the driver who was running away.

Investigators said they were hit by another driver in a Dodge Challenger who also fled the scene.  

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Cooper died at the scene. Her friend survived.  

Her mother is devastated. 

"That is my only child. Too painful," said Amalia Cooper. 

And her father is intent on finding out who did it. 

"The person that hit her needs to be brought to justice. We need it as soon as possible," said Alfred Cooper. 

The parents are making funeral arrangements.  

They said they named their daughter after Oprah Winfrey, envisioning a great future for her.

She immigrated to the United States in 2019 from Namibia, a country in Southern Africa to get a better education.

"Somebody to go back to Africa and become one of the leaders," said her father.  

Cooper attended Laney College and worked in security at Oakland International Airport.

Her parents said she aspired to be a flight attendant and cosmetologist. 

"I cannot express it.  It hurts me so bad. Baby, 20 years old, beautiful," said her father.  

Oprah's parents said they're still waiting to get her body from the coroner's office. 

They're trying to raise money to help with funeral expenses.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU.