'This has to stop': Oakland police investigating 100th homicide of 2021, chief says

ByJ.R. Stone and Kayla Galloway KGO logo
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Oakland police investigating 100th homicide of 2021, chief says
Oakland police reported 10 homicides over the last seven days.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland Police Department responded to the city's 100th homicide of the year Monday morning, with a total of 10 people killed in just the last seven days, according to the city's police chief.

Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong spoke publicly Monday afternoon after a violent weekend, where several were shot and killed in the city. He took a somber tone during the press conference, beginning with 100 seconds of silence to honor the lives lost.

"It's been a very challenging weekend for the Oakland Police Department and the community," Armstrong said.

"So much violence, so many guns, so many senseless lives lost," he went on to say.

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Chief Armstrong said gun violence in Oakland is a crisis -- and the solution is not just police presence, but help from the community.

"We can be vocal about certain things, but I just don't understand why this community cannot be vocal about 100 lives lost?" the chief said. "We can scream and yell about anything the police department does wrong but in this time, we can't speak up about what's plaguing all of us -- and that's gun violence. I just ask that everybody come together collectively to say that this has to stop."

Chief Armstrong is asking Oakland residents to do their part.

"I say this every time we have a press conference. I'm tired of appearing before you. We got to do the work. I'll be out in the community meeting with people, but I need people to step up and grab your loved ones and tell them 'put the guns down.' We want them to live, we want them to be alive and free," he said.

"It's been a very challenging weekend for the Oakland Police Department and the community," the police chief said. "So much violence, so many guns, so many senseless lives lost."

Nina Carter is a violence interrupter for Youth Alive in East Oakland. She had just spoken with a grieving family when we talked with her.

"You can't ask people to put down the guns if you not going to give them nothing to pick up," says Carter.

To curb the violence she'd like to see better recreation centers opened up with pathways on how to become an entrepreneur. Carter says much of the violence stems from what's being said in songs.

"Most of these homicides is coming from rap music," Carter went on to say, "Music is spreading these messages so then people think they have to defend themselves based on what was said."

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Mattie Scott lost her son and grandson years ago to gun violence. She's part of a gun control advocacy group called Brady United, and says Oakland has a major problem with "ghost guns," or those without serial numbers and those that can easily be put together.

"Your child can go online and purchase a ghost gun without you even knowing it and take it to school, or take it with them, or take a life," says Scott.

"Nobody ever introduced these kids to what is possible, so they grow up with this mentality that they're invisible, so 'in order for me to be relevant or get some type of attention I got to commit a crime,'" says Carter.

This year there have been 100 homicides in Oakland but at this time last year there were 71.

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Two people were killed last Monday in east Oakland in a shooting near a preschool in the presence of children, officials said.

The shooting occurred just before 3:15 p.m. near Burbank Preschool in the 3400 block of 64th Avenue.

A Hayward man was also killed in a shooting in an east Oakland neighborhood Thursday afternoon, according to police

The shooting was reported around 3:45 p.m. on the 2400 block of 57th Avenue.

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Another person was shot and killed early Sunday morning around 2:15 a.m. in the 300 block of 17th Street. The victim was identified as a man from Stockton. Police said "several" others were also injured in the shooting, though it's unclear exactly how many were hurt.

The 100th homicide of the year occurred Monday morning near the Oakland Coliseum BART station on San Leandro Street, the chief said. This time last year the city had reported 70 homicides, according to Oakland police.

"I hope that others in this city take the time to recognize the lives that have been lost and talk about solutions," he said. "This is not about finger pointing, this is not about political issues, this is not about should we have more officers or how we address gun violence. This is about a crisis in our community that is taking lives."

The Oakland Police Department has a total of 695 officers, the fewest officers it's employed in 10 years, the chief said. Armstrong said while the department is smaller, Oakland is also experiencing more violence than it's seen in nearly a decade.

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Bay City News contributed to this report