2 suspects arrested in East Oakland fatal drive-by

3-year-old boy shot in Oakland
August 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Just before 5 p.m., police tracked the shooting suspect in the death of a 3-year-old boy to Pittsburg. Carlos "Carlito" Nava Jr. was hit and killed by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting in the 6400 block of International Boulevard on Monday. Police may have caught his killer.

Oakland police have made an arrest. Two men were taken into custody in Pittsburg. Police believe they have the shooter in custody as well as another man who was in the car at the time of the shooting. Police are also looking for a third suspect. The Oakland police say the community played a key role in leading to the arrests.

Pittsburg apartment residents say 10 to 15 Oakland cops surrounded the apartment on Pheasant Drive in the late afternoon.

"They had one cop over here, one posted about five cars down, and they had cop cars and people behind the building and telling us to stay in and they all had their weapons drawn. They brought out the K-9 actually and I heard them asking for the K-9," said resident Clinton Simmons.

Neighbors say there's heavy foot traffic at the apartment day and night. Police ran a check on a possible suspect vehicle in the drive-by shooting.

The spot where little Carlos was caught in the crossfire is now a place of grief and outrage. People who never met the boy came to remember him one after the next after the next during the day with flowers, candles, and teddy bears. It is a crime that has infuriated the city and it brought the City Council President Larry Reid to tears.

"All I could do was just pray and ask God to give the family strength to deal with the loss of their child and I just hope that the U.S. attorney general will bring all the resources that we need to make sure that this doesn't happen to any family again," said Reid.

Police predict the ongoing gang warfare that took Carlos' life could lead to more violence this summer. The mayor and police chief called on the U.S. Attorney and the California Highway Patrol for help. Outside agencies like the sheriff's department and housing authority are already on patrol in East Oakland.

"We're confident the crime's going to be solved here quickly based on the info we received and the direction the investigation's going," said Oakland Dep. Chief Eric Breshears.

Carlos was in his toy car Monday afternoon when someone fired at least 10 shots at two men. Bystanders dove into a pizza restaurant for cover, Carlos was killed. The intended targets recovering from their injuries.

Some city leaders now want to revisit old ideas that failed to win political support, like curfews or a gang injunction or something new.

"If it means stopping and checking cars, then stop and check the cars," said Reid.

Community leaders at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, like Abel Habtegeorgis, say something needs to be done, but within reason.

"Public safety is more than just an incensement in law enforcement. It is a multi-tiered approach, it has to be," said Habtegeorgis.

"For me I don't give a crap anymore. I want this insanity to stop," said Reid. "Those who challenge us on whether or not we should implement a gang injunction, talk about the violation of individuals' civil rights. Well this 3-year-old lost his life. His civil rights was violated."

The mayor's office sponsored a vigil where the 3-year-old was shot Tuesday night. At that vigil, there were around 100 people that attended. In a community that has dealt with more than its fair share of street violence, this crime has struck a nerve. From ordinary folks to the top cop, there is a sense that enough is enough. They are disgusted that a stray bullet killed an innocent child.

An outraged community came out to pay tribute to the little boy known as "Carlito." People here were incensed, especially those who witnessed it.

"We just heard gunshots. We just hid, I just hid my little niece because she was at the corner, and we just heard the lady screaming 'My son, my son got shot.' I just run out of my car and I just started helping her," said a woman who did not want to be identified.

Carlos' mother and some family members came by the vigil, but left without speaking.

"People may not like what I am about to say and I really don't care, but it takes an animal to take the life of a 3-year-old baby on an urban street in the middle of the day. There's too many valuable lives that look like us losing their lives on these streets every day," said Police Chief Anthony Batts.

Two young girls, ages 4 and 1, were wounded in front of that same restaurant after being caught in the crossfire two years ago.

The police chief believes he'll have this case wrapped up in 24 to 48 hours.


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