Man fatally shot by Oakland, BART cops

July 17, 2010 6:18:16 PM PDT
Oakland and BART police officers were involved in the shooting death of a man Saturday morning near the Fruitvale BART station. Police say five officers opened fire on the man who charged at them while wielding a knife.

Investigators say it will be some time before they have a clear idea of what happened and why.

"We believe both BART and OPD fired their guns," said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Israel.

It all started on 33rd Avenue near the Fruitvale BART station. A caller dialed 9-1-1 to report a man carrying two knives. BART police were the first to find the man who they say took off running down International Boulevard. When the man reached 34th Avenue, Oakland police joined the chase and tased him, but he kept going.

"I saw this man walking backward like this, saying, 'Shoot me. Shoot me. Shoot me.' I didn't hear police say anything," she recalled.

By the time the chase reached 33rd, Oakland police tried a second time to tase the man.

"The man then turns toward one of the officers who had just tased him, or attempted to tase him, knife in hand, charges the officer," said Israel.

That is when five officers, three from Oakland and two from BART police, fired.

"I heard like six to eight shots, fast," said Oakland resident Juana Nieva.

The man died instantly and those who live in the area reacted immediately.

"This has got to stop," said resident Lupe Soltero.

Some are already organizing a community meeting. Their goal is to get their community watch program back on track. A combination of cuts to the Oakland police force and an admitted mistrust of BART police by many is breathing new life into the program.

"You don't want these things to happen," Soltero said. "You want the police around, but you want to make sure the police know what they're doing."

Just Friday, BART leadership announced the creation of a citizens oversight commission in response to the January 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant by BART police. BART board member Lynette Sweet feels like Saturday's shooting, which involves BART police, is a step backwards.

"It's disheartening that now, the perception of us still isn't going to be that great, the day after we're doing this celebratory thing, we're now talking about another killing," she told ABC7.

The commission, which starts in January, would look into incidents like this one. For now, the community meeting will take place Thursday St. Elizabeth Elementary School.


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