Sketch released of suspect in 8-year-old Oakland girl's death


On Wednesday police released a composite sketch of the suspect, made from witness descriptions. On July 17 a gunman sprayed the front door of an East Oakland apartment with bullets. Two other children and an adult were wounded.

Days after the 8-year-old's shooting death, Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent said that he and his department were committed to finding those responsible. On Wednesday they released the sketch of a man they believe to be responsible for the 8-year-old's death.

Oakland police shared new information into the shooting death of an 8-year old, killed at a friend's sleepover in July.

Homicide investigators released a composite sketch of the man they believe is their shooter. They describe him as an African American male, 17 to 24 years old, 5'7" tall, about 160 pounds, with a thin, dark moustache.

If police know a motive, they're not sharing it. But they have said at least one gunman rang the doorbell at the apartment on the 3400 block of Wilson Avenue and started shooting when a child opened the front door just after 11 p.m.

Bullets went through the metal screen door and hit four of the five people inside; two children and one adult suffered non-life threatening injuries, but at least one of the gunman's flying bullets struck and killed 8-year-old Alaysha

"Often it will take some time, especially in a tragedy, for witnesses to come forward," Oakland police spokesperson Officer Johnna Watson said.

Police are hoping that someone knows or will recognize him.

On Wednesday, Wilson Avenue was quiet. Since the tragedy, the family has moved, walls and doors have been repaired, and a "for rent" sign offers the availability of what, less than two months ago, was a crime scene.

"I think there's an impression that things are getting worse and none of the statistics bear that out," said Anne Marks.

Marks admits people become frustrated when things aren't noticeably better. As director of "Youth Alive," their mission is to stop the violence plaguing communities and she says witnesses coming forward to provide details included in this composite is a step in the right direction. But more important, says Marks, is to prevent violent crime before it happens.

"If we start to invest more in having more community programs, more police officers working in communities, we can start to get around some of these issues before they occur," she said.

Alaysha would have been a third-grader at Fruitvale Elementary School this year.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Oakland Police Department's homicide unit at (510) 238-3821 or the tip line at (510) 777-2805.

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