Gang violence blamed for shooting that injured girl

September 28, 2010 6:17:01 PM PDT
Oakland police say it appears that gang members shot up a house on Seminary Avenue in East Oakland early Tuesday morning, wounding a 6-year-old girl.

The home is on the 1600 block of Seminary Avenue. By day, it is a quiet family neighborhood. At night, neighbors say its facade changes.

"It's 'Seminary' at noon and 'Cemetery' at night," Karen Ramirez said.

It was Ramirez's 6-year-old sister Leslie that was shot while she was sleeping. Leslie was shot in the arm and Ramirez says her condition is improving.

Police believe gang members armed with more than one gun opened fire on the home and a car parked in front. More than 30 bullets ripped through the walls of the house and into the bedroom where Leslie was sleeping with her parents.

Ramirez believes the shooters are after her 18-year-old brother Richard.

"It seems like all these gangs are hitting on him and always breaking into his car or breaking his windows," she said.

Ramirez says this was the third time the house had been fired on.

Her brother Richard was not too talkative.

ABC7: "How many times has your house been shot up? Three times?"

Richard: "Yeah, like two or three."

ABC7: "In less than a year?"

Richard: "Yeah."

ABC7: "Why are they shooting at your house?"

Richard: "I don't know."

The walls of the garage were tagged with gang graffiti, including markings of the notorious MS-13 and the Surrenos.

But Richard Ramirez denies being in a gang.

Police say this neighborhood is known for gang and drug activity.

Late Tuesday, Police Chief Anthony Batts came to the hospital with a teddy bear to visit Leslie.

"Kids should be able to grow up in their community without being afraid they'll be hit with a stray bullet or some gang members shooting up their community," Batts said.

Police say the neighborhood is a known hot-spot for narcotic and gang activity. The family's garage door was even graffitied recently. But the investigation could move slowly, since Oakland's gang taskforce has been dismantled.

"With the layoff of 80 officers, we had to downsize some of our specialized units. There is not a gang unit out there right now working, as there was a couple years ago," said Thomason.

The family says they may just have to move away from this area to be safe. Police say they hope that outrage in the community will encourage people to come forward with information.


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