3-year-old dies after being hit in drive-by

3-year-old boy shot in Oakland
August 9, 2011 1:50:23 PM PDT
The unrelenting violence in East Oakland took another tragic turn on Monday. A 3-year-old boy was hit and killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting. The gunfire also hit two adults outside a restaurant on International Boulevard.

The shooter is still on the loose and no arrests have been made so far. The Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts told ABC7 that they plan to step up patrols for the week.

The 3-year-old boy, Carlos, was in no way affiliated with the two intended targets. He was just out on the street with his family. The boy died at Children's Hospital in the afternoon. The chief went to there to console his family.

The shooting happened on a busy street, in the in the middle of the afternoon, and there is just one way to describe it.

"Clearly this is broad daylight, on a very busy street, there's a school right behind us, this is a heavily-traveled area, so for this crime to be committed like this in this area is brazen and it's unacceptable," said Oakland Police Sgt. Holly Joshi.

Witnesses say the 3-year-old boy was sitting in a toy car, being pushed by his family, when he was caught in the cross fire.

"Scared, really scared. I feel insecure," said witness Jose Romero. "We just don't understand why this happen in the day time, night time, all the time."

Romero was in the laundry mat with his daughter when the shooting broke out.

It was just after one in the afternoon on busy International Boulevard near 65th Avenue. The boy and his family were shopping in a liquor store. Police say two men were the indented targets of a drive-by. They were shot, but are expected to survive. The boy was an innocent victim.

"What it looks like at this point is that this was a drive-by shooting and that the adult victims were probably the targets, the child was an unintended victim struck by a stray round," said Joshi.

Witnesses say they heard at least 10 shots. There were so many bullet casings, police had to push the crime scene tape back as they discovered more.

"I just see two guys on the floor but by then, a lot of police around," said Romero.

Batts told ABC7 that this was a gang-related shooting and is part of an on-going conflict on the streets of East Oakland. He says there has been a tactical alert issued, which means there will be increased patrols.

As for the two intended targets of this shooting, they are expected to survive. They're being treated at the hospital.

The shooter is being described as an African-American man between 20s and 30s, wearing a dark-colored shirt, driving a car that is like a four-door Pontiac, gray in color.

Later Monday night, it seemed even street-hardened cops are having trouble with this one. It was pretty disturbing to see such a small body being wheeled off, by the coroner, on such a large gurney.

Carlos Nava's grand aunt, Marisela Nava, said the boy was shot in the neck. She said he and his mother were getting pizza on International Boulevard when they were caught in the gunfire of a drive-by shooting. People on the street dove into the little Caesars Pizza shop for cover.

"So the baby fell down. And she said, 'Oh, my baby,' and she started waking him up, but the baby just went down," said Marisela.

At the time, Carlos's mother didn't even realize he was shot.

"You don't know how tough it is to look a parent in the face who just lost their three year old and the pain that they're going through, and say that you're sorry. You know that's not going to make a difference," said Batts.

This may sound like a rare occurrence, but a 4-year-old girl and a 1-year-old girl were shot and wounded outside this same store on April 25, 2009 on International Blvd and 64th Avenue. Both survived. Back then ABC7 interviewed the pizza store owner Peter Aguas who described that incident as the girls were hit by a stray bullet then too.

"The rest of the people are just collateral damage. That's all it is. You just don't know when your day and your hour is going to hit you," said resident Ken Noguera.

Residents and business owners are feeling more insecure, so Batts on a mission to restore the public's confidence.

"What I said to the parents is that 'I can't bring your son back and I'm sorry for that, but what we can do is out part to make sure someone is brought to justice on this,'" said Batts.

Batts has now asked for extra help from the sheriff's department, the housing authority, and a federal task force. Mayor Jean Quan is so outraged about this that she's holding a vigil on Tuesday night with other city leaders at 7 p.m. at International Boulevard and 64th Avenue.


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