Oakland Mayor joins effort to stop violence

August 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is teaming up with the Oakland A's and human rights activists at the Coliseum for what they call 'Silence the Violence Day.' It is the third annual event designed to keep peace on the streets. It comes after an exceptionally violent 48 hours.

Dellums hopes to silence the violence through a number of approaches, including a job fair taking place at the Oakland Coliseum, and of course, law enforcement has to be a part of the strategy which Dellums talked about while he was out on the field.

"Our message to young people is that we love you, we care about you, that we know that you need hope and opportunity and that we are here to do as much as we possibly can to make sure that happens," says Dellums.

It is an extraordinary scene, even for veteran police officers. A sea of yellow markers indicates perhaps nearly 100 bullet casings and other evidence in connection with a shooting on Kirkham Street in West Oakland.

According to investigators, three to five suspects critically injured two men when they opened fire, possibly with automatic weapons.

"Military style weapons. AK47s, things like that, things you've seen on TV, things people use in war, things that cause a great amount of destruction," says Sgt. Roland Holmgren of the Oakland Police Department.

It happened around 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Resident Mileva Sherman says the hail of gunfire sounded like Iraq.

"Oh my God, it was traumatic. One shot after another. I never heard so many shots. You see, it's just ridiculous down here," says Sherman.

On Tuesday night, a man was shot to death on 45th Street, bringing the number of shootings in Oakland in just the last 48 hours to a whopping seven. Takeover robberies are adding to the crime wave.

It is prompting the mayor to call in the Guardian Angels. The volunteer safety patrols hit the streets in one commercial district last week and Guardian Angels from all over the country are expected to become a regular presence starting Friday.

"We are going to work alongside the police department, which is something big for the Guardian Angels. This has never happened before," says Freddy Batres with the Guardian Angels.

But the head of the Lakeshore Business Improvement District says neither the police chief, nor the mayor has talked to merchants about the planned patrols. The Guardian Angels were here last year and Pamela Drake says it was just a photo-op.

"That's what they actually did. They came in, took a photo-op. They left, but we've never heard from them and they haven't connected with us since," says Drake.

Police Chief Wayne Tucker was out here talking about their strategy. He says more police patrols have been outside the past few days. He also hinted at a special operation that will take place on Wednesday night.


Load Comments