Innocent bystander among 6 shot in Oakland

January 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Six people shot, two in critical condition, and a neighborhood living in fear. Police are searching for whoever is responsible for the shootings that took place late Tuesday night on 89th Avenue in east Oakland and injured a man who was just watching television in his home.

All of the victims are being treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland. According to police, the crime scene on Tuesday night was simply chaotic after a group of men opened fire on another group standing outside. Some of the victims were transported to the hospital on an ambulance, while others made it on their own. The innocent bystander is in critical condition.

Even inside her own home, Yolanda Valladares can't escape the very streets she tries to protect her family from. Her teenage son was in his room doing homework last night, he had just stepped into the bathroom and that's when bullets shot through the window.

It pierced a cushion, hit the door and shot through the wall just inches from her son's bed. It came out on the other side, where Valladares and her 11-year-old daughter were on the couch, landing centimeters from the girl's head.

Iron fences were shredded and car windows broken and six people shot in all. Police say five were the intended targets in what's believed to be a gang shooting, but there was also an unintended target -- a 49-year-old man watching TV inside his house when he was shot in the back.

"He was just watching TV minding his own business when a bullet came in and struck him. He's in critical condition and it's a very troubling incident that took place there," Officer Jeff Thomason from the Oakland Police Department said.

Neighbors say they heard as many as 20 rounds. All they could do was throw their children to the floor and hope the bullets didn't pierce their homes.

"They walk to and from school every day. I was scared to send them to school. You don't know what's going to happen," neighbor Joanna Moore said.

The signs of violence are everywhere from the gang graffiti to the crime scene tape. Some of it is linked to other shootings that happened here just days earlier.

"I know they call it the 'kill zone' from Seminary to San Leandro, basically because it just been a lot of killings in this area," a nearby resident said.

Valladares is ready to move out of this kill zone. Nearly a year ago, her husband was struck by a bullet in the backyard. Luckily, he survived, but Valladares also believes there's more than just luck working in her family's favor.

All of the victims are expected to survive. The area where the shooting took place is a neighborhood Mayor Jean Quan talked about just two days ago in her inaugural address, saying she plans to organize residents to try to stop the violence.

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