OPD fatally shoot man in Rockridge District

January 30, 2011 3:13:16 PM PST
Oakland police shot and killed a man in the city's Rockridge District. It happened around 9:30 a.m., in a residential neighborhood near the busy intersection of Broadway and College Avenue. This is Oakland's second fatal officer-involved shooting in three days.

Anytime police shoot and kill someone on city streets, there will be a lot of questions and that is the case in Oakland. There have not been a lot of details released. Police said the man had been acting strangely and that he intruded into a house. Residents of this neighborhood are saying this violence hit too close to home.

Until Saturday, Rockridge residents would have been hard pressed to believe something like this could happen in the neighborhood. And exactly what happened remains sketchy; as Oakland police explained it.

"They knew him, and he knew them," said Oakland Police Dept. Asst. Chief Howard Jordan.

And now Matthew Cicelski, described as being in his mid 30's or 40's is dead, shot by those same Oakland police, after he reportedly patrolled up and down Taft Avenue, in camouflage, with what appeared to be an assault rifle, that turned out to be a replica. Police say he entered a house with at least two people inside. One of them ran out. The situation escalated from there.

"The officers approached the home from the front. As they got up the stairs, the gentleman, who we have not confirmed his name yet, exited the home and confronted the officers armed with an automatic rifle. The officers immediately opened fire on the gentleman, which ended his life," said Jordan.

According to police, three officers shot simultaneously. There is no word yet on how many rounds they fired or how many hit their mark. Police would not speculate, yet, on whether this shooting was justified, but at least one neighborhood resident is not so sure.

"Overuse of force. I can't imagine that one couldn't have shot him in the leg. We don't need to kill people and why shoot people in residential neighborhoods just because they are acting strange?" said witness Paul Koual.

But Tony Dombroksi, who lives across the street, and posted a video of the incident on YouTube, he says that as he saw it, police had been exercising restraint.

"They gave whoever it was a two block area. I would have said 'okay I'll put my arms up and come out.' But I don't think this guy did," said Dombroksi.

As to that replica assault rifle, police were asked if it was in fact even a weapon. They said yes, as to what it shoots, whether bullets, or BB's, or something else, they would not say.