Shots fired near 'Occupy Oakland,' one dead

November 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
One man died in a shooting near the Occupy Oakland camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza Thursday evening. Protesters say the shooting was unrelated to the Occupy movement, but it could spell the end of the Downtown encampment.

In a statement released Thursday night, Mayor Jean Quan says Occupy Oakland must go. She's again pushing for protesters to dismantle their camp, following the deadly shooting that happened on the southeastern corner of Frank Ogawa Plaza, right across from the encampment.

Things remained quiet and peaceful overnight and officers cleared the crime scene. The shooting happened just before 5 p.m. as ABC7's Laura Anthony was preparing for her liveshot. She was only a few hundred feet from where the gunshots rang out. It happened near the BART entrance at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Paramedics tried to revive the victim, but he ended up dying from his injuries.

"We had seen like a scuffle between two people and they kept going back and forth yelling at each other and then he left that way and then right when we coming back, then that's when all this started happening," said witness Jonathan Shatswell.

Officers looked for the gunman inside the BART station, but couldn't find him. Police and protesters say neither he, nor the victim, were part of Occupy Oakland, the encampment that started forming at the plaza one month ago. But some members of the movement became hostile to the media trying to document the scene. In fact, ABC7 photographer Randy Davis got punched several times in the head.

Now, Quan is calling for the camp to close immediately. In her statement, she said: "Whether this incident is related to the encampment, or is an unrelated act, it is unacceptable. Tonight's incident underscores the reason why the encampment must end. I am calling on campers to leave voluntarily."

"The shooting may or not have anything to do with the encampment, but it is time for people to go and we're asking them to go voluntarily and we've made arrangements for people who need homeless shelters to get those services," said Quan's spokesperson Sue Piper.

The plan is for city workers to walk through the camp and distribute homeless vouchers, but the people of Occupy Oakland say the city shouldn't be using the shooting incident against them.

"These kinds of thing happen all the time in Downtown Oakland. I've been here on other nights long before the occupation when there were shootouts in Downtown Oakland. This is not something that's specific to the camp," Occupy Oakland spokesperson Tim Simmons.

"This was just a simple, everyday life that Oakland goes through. It just happened to happen right by where we are protesting. What we are trying to prevent is what just happened," said Momo from Occupy Oakland.

We asked the mayor's spokesperson what's going to happen if people don't leave voluntarily and she did not answer the question. By the way, a recent Chamber Of Commerce poll found that 73 percent of those surveyed disapprove of Quan's handling of Occupy Oakland.

Earlier it was reported that a crowd quickly formed a human chain around the individual who was shot until police arrived. Oakland police interviewed eyewitnesses to determine what happened.

A person acting as a spokesperson for the protesters told ABC7 the victim may have been hiding out from a person or a group of people at the encampment shortly before the incident.

"This is known throughout the world," said Occupy Oakland spokesperson Shake Anderson. "If someone does something wrong in their community, they may want to come here and this is not the place for that."

City councilman Ignacio de la Fuente said his biggest fear had happened.

"I have been very vocal on the fact that this cannot continue," De La Fuente said in a phone interview with ABC7 News. "I think fear has become a reality. This mayor has got to take responsibility for that."

De La Fuente said the Occupy encampment "does a lot of harm to the city and the individuals, and they should just pack and leave -- and if not, we should take whatever action is necessary."

The shooting came on the one-month anniversary of the establishment of the nearby Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza. Demonstrators organized a makeshift candlelight memorial for the victim at an intersection near the scene of the shooting.


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