Oakland 'peace march' following weekend violence


Oakland Community Organizations expects more than 400 parents, students, and teachers from Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School and St. Bernard Church to convene Tuesday at the elementary school for a 3 p.m. "peace walk" through what community organizers call "the most violent neighborhood in East Oakland," according to organizer Emma Paulino.

After the walk, a meeting is scheduled with city officials, including Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts, to demand a response to increased gun violence in the area, Paulino said.

"We have been working with the city for years and nothing has happened," Paulino said about community efforts with the community's Oakland police patrol division.

The march follows six shootings over the weekend, some near the school and community, including a shooting Sunday afternoon in the 1400 block of Seminary Avenue that police say left one person in critical condition.

Another nearby shooting in the 2400 block of 90th Avenue injured a 52-year-old Oakland resident in the man's apartment complex driveway on Saturday night, Oakland police said. The victim was reported in stable condition.

On Saturday afternoon, in the 2900 block of High Street, 50-year-old Leo Dunson was shot and died from his gunshot wounds, police said.

Dunson's 25-year-old son spoke about his father, describing him as a positive man who wanted to see good come out of Oakland.

"(My dad) wouldn't want any retaliation. He would want the violence to stop," said Leo Dunson Jr., an inactive U.S. Army soldier who will become an accounting student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in the fall.

The younger Dunson, an aspiring musician, wrote a song about his father, "Dad of a Soldier," and says in the past few months his father was making more of an effort in their relationship, which had previously been distant.

"It's almost as if he knew what was coming," the younger Dunson said. "(When I heard he'd been shot), I felt like I got hit by a car, but I'm trying to stay strong -- that's what my dad would want."

The elder Dunson was part of his Baptist church choir, was hoping to start a car tire business and had a girlfriend, also from Oakland, his son said.

Other shootings from the weekend left five people with gunshot injuries, police said.

At about 1:22 a.m. in the area of 59th and Genoa streets, officers found two men suffering from gunshot wounds that did not appear to be life-threatening injuries.

Just before 2 a.m., a shooting outside of a nightclub in the 1200 block of Webster Avenue left one man in critical condition and hospitalized two other men, according to police.

Two of the gunshot victims, who were taken to the hospital, were in stable condition. The third man was scheduled to undergo surgery for critical injuries Sunday morning after he was found shot at 1:55 a.m., Oakland police Officer Kevin McDonald said.

As of this afternoon, no suspects were in custody for any of the five shootings this weekend, but investigations were ongoing, police said.

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