Teen shot by Oakland police wasn't involved in robbery

April 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan says his officers made a mistake in a shooting. It happened as they were trying to chase down three suspected robbers outside a restaurant on Clay Street.

Police spotted three guys matching the description a block away on Jefferson Street and one officer opened fire, wounding someone who had nothing to do with the robbery.

The incident started when a woman in her 40s, who is an employee at Le Cheval restaurant, located at 10th and Clay, was leaving work and headed to a nearby parking lot. She says she was approached by three black men in their late teens or early 20s, wearing dark clothing. One of the men pulled a knife on her, she was shoved to the ground and hit her head on a car in the lot. The suspects took her purse and she ran back into the restaurant and called 911.

The events after that robbery are what led to the Oakland teen being shot.

Jordan called the investigation fluid and stressed that there are several moving parts. Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oakland police received a call from Le Cheval restaurant saying an employee had been robbed at knifepoint. Minutes later, the first police unit arrived. Less than two minutes after that, police received a second call stating that the restaurant had been robbed, but that call was disconnected.

Jordan said shortly after his first officer arrived, additional units were on the scene and spotted three individuals fitting the description of their suspects.

Jordan said the officer, "perceived a threat from one of the individuals and fired a single round." He added, "The officers were directed there by a witness, someone that was involved or knew about the robbery, so based on that information, I believe the officers had a right to follow-up on that and take action."

All three teens were detained. Police say the teen who was wounded is 15 or 16 years old. They say he was grazed by the bullet on the right side of his jaw. The officers would soon learn that neither the teen who was shot, nor his two friends, were involved in the crime and no one had any weapons.

Jordan would not say what the perceived threat was to the officer. Now the department must determine if the action of that officer was appropriate.

Adding to the confusion, the second 911 call of the restaurant being robbed turned out to be false. According to Jordan, homicide detectives contacted the father of the victim to explain what happened. Jordan says he will engage in complete transparency to figure out the status of the events and what led to the shooting.

The father of the teenager who was shot was visibly upset and told ABC7 News he is still trying to deal with his son's injuries and trying to figure out his next step.

The entire incident will be under review by the Internal Affairs division. The compliance director will also have an opportunity to weigh in. There have been no arrests.

The officer who fired the shot is a veteran of the department with as much as 15-20 years' experience.


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