A 54-year-old community activist who worked to help people on the streets turn their lives around, was murdered in a California parking lot in what police are calling a target hit, KTVU.com reported.

David Lewis, a member of the East Palo Alto-based Free at Last organization, was shot in the Hillsdale Mall parking garage Wednesday evening. He later died at a local hospital.

"As early on in the investigation as this is, we are confident that this was not a random act, that this person was targeted," San Mateo Police Lt. Mike Brunicardi told the station.

Lewis spent 17 years in trouble with the law but had turned his life around and was working with ex-offenders, longtime addicts and parolees to do the same,  KTVU.com reported

"David's loss hits deep into the heart and soul of this community and Police Department," said East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis.

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