Fight leads to shooting at shopping center

September 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police took five hours investigating a shooting at the Gateway Plaza shopping center in Hayward near West Jackson and Santa Clara streets.

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Hayward police officers, about to grab something to eat-- suddenly found themselves in the middle of shootout. When it was over, three people were shot, but none of them police officers. Seven people were also taken into custody.

Witnesses say the shootout sounded like something out of a movie. No one could believe it was really happening at 4 p.m. in the parking lot of a busy Hayward shopping center.

"My mom and I were actually eating lunch and we heard the shots go off 20 to 25 shots in a row, really, really bad," said witness Chris Husary.

Some Hayward police officers had also decided to eat at the shopping center. They pulled into the parking lot just as two groups of men pulled out their guns.

"The officers of course were startled by this and obviously shaken when you think you're going in to get a sandwich and you end up in the middle of a two groups of people shooting at each other," said Hayward Police Capt. Darryl McAllister.

Police jumped into the middle of it all and say men ran in opposite directions. At one point, an officer shot one of the suspects.

"One of the members of the group that ran to the north turned on one of the officers as well. That officer did fire at that individual fearing he would fired upon," said Capt. McAllister.

"I think cops had every right to. It was a pretty wild, wild event, pretty intense," said Husary.

Ten men in all were taken into custody -- seven in the back of police cars and three to the hospital. Still, it was far from over. Officers evacuated the Lucky grocery store and sent dogs in to make sure no one was hiding in there.

"'Come outside, clear the store, clear the store, suspects coming into the store.' So everybody was in a panic and was running out," said Rick Canuso, a Lucky store employee.

Some witnesses spent five hours inside the crime tape, waiting to be released. Many of them were asked to take a good look at the men being held in the back of the police cars. Others had to leave their cars behind as possible evidence.

"It was guys shooting at each other and then police shooting at them and one guy got shot right next to my car," said witness Cleveland Smith.

The three people who were shot are expected to survive.

On another note, Hayward police were stretched pretty thin when the event happened, since a number of their officers were in unincorporated Contra Costa County searching Phillip Garrido's house. The captain who is in charge of giving the media all of the information took a while to get to the Hayward scene and it turned out they were coming from the Garrido home investigation.

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