EXCLUSIVE: Man shot while trying to stop Oakland Chinatown robbery explains why he stepped in

Dion Lim Image
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Man shot in Oakland robbery explains why he intervened
A man who was shot twice while trying to deescalate a violent purse-snatching in Oakland's Chinatown, is speaking exclusively to ABC7 News.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Just days after a brazen purse-snatching in Oakland's Chinatown, the good Samaritan who was shot twice as he jumped in to help, is speaking only to ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim about his experience.

This comes after a number of high-profile robberies in the neighborhood, and at a time when other businesses are going to drastic measures to stay safe.

EXCLUSIVE: Victims of Oakland Chinatown robbery thank Good Samaritan shot while intervening

The man only wants to be identified as Mr. Li. It took just seconds for his active shooter training to kick in Saturday afternoon.

He heard women scream along 8th and Franklin and jumped into action.

"I wanted to calm everyone down... try to deescalate the situation before it got out of hand, but it got out of hand really, really fast," Says Li from his hospital bed.

"I would never expect something like this to happen in broad daylight with cameras around and a lot of police presence around," he continued.

VIDEO: District attorney investigates mob-like 'shakedowns' and 'threats' in SF's Chinatown

Claims of possible 'shakedowns' and 'threats' are being investigated in San Francisco where businesses have received letters threatening lawsuits.

Mr. Li was out shopping with his mom when he saw two couples targeted in a violent purse snatching.

One man in the group was pistol-whipped as he tried to wrangle his girlfriend's bag away from one of the perpetrators. In the video being used in the police investigation, you can hear two gunshots go off.

Mr. Li was hit in the armpit and leg.

RELATED: Oakland's Chinatown on edge after more than 20 reported robberies

This incident happened after a number of attacks in Oakland's Chinatown, including two violent robberies on the same block in a two-day span at 9th and Harrison last month.

Less than a block away, just days earlier a jewelry shop owner witnessed two women get their handbags snatched. You can see the owner in dashcam video pick up a stool and hurl it at the suspects as they get away.

"I couldn't see another person getting snatched. I felt so bad, I really wanted to stop them," says the shop owner who requested his name be withheld for privacy.

He says after about a decade in Chinatown, he has never witnessed such frequent crime.

RELATED: OPD investigates 2 violent robberies on same Chinatown block in 2 days

Carl Chan, president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in Oakland says a number of businesses are closing up shop early.

It's something the jewelry shop does now as a precaution.

"Before we closed at 6, then 5, now we have to close at 4, sometimes a little earlier because it's just so dangerous," says the owner.

While Mr. Li recovers, he says he has no regrets about his actions, but shares a word of caution.

"If you're getting robbed, think about your safety first, don't think about your possessions. Those can always be replaced."

There is a GoFundMe to help with Mr. Li's medical expenses, which you can donate to here.

The two suspects remain at large.

ABC7 News reached out to Oakland Police to inquire about the pair's possible involvement in another violent incident that happened earlier in the day.