High-speed police chase ends in crash

January 27, 2011 12:46:13 AM PST
A random shooting spree that terrified families ends with a fiery crash and a man shot and killed by police. It was a tense afternoon in Oakland on Wednesday and police still don't know why the shooting started in the first place.

It all began around 4 p.m. on Lockwood Street in East Oakland and ended 10 minutes later with the crash at San Leandro Street and 85th Avenue.

One suspect is dead and one is in police custody. Terrified residents that would talk to ABC7 on camera said they are just thankful that no one was hurt.

"It was just da da da da... 'Get down, everybody get down,'" said neighbor Porche Me.

Me says gunshots woke her up from a nap in the afternoon. She instinctively rounded up the three children she was babysitting.

"I instantly got up and the kids I'm watching I'm telling them, 'Get down, get down,'" said Me.

The gunshots came from what police are calling a random drive by shooting by two men. Yellow markers show where police found almost two dozen bullet cartridges on Lockewood Street at 78th Avenue. Donna Hooper is amazed no one was shot.

"It was loud. It was very loud," said Hooper. When asked about how many gunshots she heard, she replied, "About 20 to 25 shots. It was a lot of shots? a whole bunch of shots. I was surprised that nobody got hit."

Oakland Police Capt. Ersie Joyner says he doesn't see any reason for the two men to shoot at people on this street.

"It wouldn't be considered a hotspot, there is not an ongoing gang feud, these two individuals for whatever reason picked that block to begin firing upon people that were innocently not involved in any crimes," said Joyner.

From Lockewood the suspects led police on a high speed chase southbound on Interstate 880 and exited at San Leandro Street where they ran a red light and hit a car at the intersection of 85th Avenue. That's when police were able to confront the two men in the car.

"The driver of the vehicle fled the vehicle. The passenger of the car was engaged by officers and was shot and killed," said Joyner.

The driver was chased down by police and arrested nearby without force; he was unarmed.

Joyner said the suspect in the front passenger seat jumped out of the car armed with two guns and didn't follow officers' commands to surrender. One of the officers shot the suspect because the officer thought his life was in danger and the suspect died at the scene.

At about the same time the officer shot at the suspect, the suspects' car, a red Infiniti, burst into flames, apparently from the impact of the collision with the victim's green Oldsmobile, police spokeswoman Holly Joshi said.

During the pursuit, police cars lost contact with their dispatcher. Officers say this has been a chronic problem that could threaten their safety.

"This is a very unfortunate situation for it to occur at this type of situation when you need to be in direct contact with dispatchers which are your lifeline," said Joshi.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told ABC7 that she's already asked the city administrator to assemble a tech squad to find the problem with the police communications and fix it.

The individual that the suspects ran into at 85th Avenue escaped with minor injuries. All of this is under investigation by the district attorney's office and the Oakland Police Department.

Bay City News contributed to this report