Tenants nervous to return to raided building

September 29, 2009 7:08:53 PM PDT
Tenants evacuated over the weekend following a SWAT standoff in Oakland, still haven't returned back home. It was the second SWAT raid at their building this year. Two Oakland Police officers were gunned down there in March and now many residents are hesitant to return.

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The police said tenants could return to this building Monday evening, but there's still so much repair work being done, that nearly all of the people who live in the 10 units here have not returned and many of them say they're not sure they ever will.

Work to repair the damaged building goes on, but for the families who call it home, the damage done to their lives is permanent.

"We have to live with this in our minds, in our heads. This is traumatizing. Not only am I walking past the first door that it happened, now I got to walk past the second door," says Tamesisha Marbray, a tenant.

Near one window, the graffiti on the wall outside marks the spot where wanted parolee Lovelle Mixon killed two Oakland police officers, shortly after he killed two others during a traffic stop. And just last weekend, a murder suspect holed himself up in the same building. Inside one of the units, leading police on a 12 hour standoff, he eventually surrendered, but since then, only one resident has returned. Last night was her first night back.

"It was kind of spooky, thinking somebody was going to come up in there or thinking somebody might be in somebody else's apartment because they kicked everybody's door in," says Cynthia Thompson, tenant

For others, the memories of what happened, the fear of what could happen again, are too much. Police ransacked their homes during the hunt for the gunman.

"They're telling us we can come back, but who wants to come back to this?" says Wanita Powell, a tenant.

Powell and her three kids are staying in a hotel and the future for her and the other tenants is even more uncertain now, thanks to a notice they received a few weeks ago telling them the building is in foreclosure.

"I don't understand, it's under foreclosure. Shut it down. Relocate us. Help us out, something," said Lashwanda Hicks, a tenant.

Tamesisha Marbray hopes for the sake of her newborn daughter who was just 5 days old on the day of the standoff. The clothes from her baby shower are now saturated by tear gas.

"Anybody can just come in off the streets and have a standoff with the police any time they're ready, that's how I feel," said Tamesisha Marbray.

These tenants are getting some help. Their hotel is being paid for by the police department and the bank that now owns the building and a bank representative told ABC7 it's also giving tenants $200 gift certificates to the grocery store for all the inconvenience they've had to go through. Also, all the repairs are expected to be done by Wednesday, so everyone's unit should be ready to move in by then, but whether the tenants want to come back is a whole different story.

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