Oakland education activist fatally shot during home burglary, city's 105th homicide this year

Luz Pena Image
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Oakland activist fatally shot, wife wounded during home burglary
At 11:29 p.m. Friday, Oakland police responded to the latest homicide in this city. This time two victims shot inside their home.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- At 11:29 p.m. Friday, Oakland police responded to the latest homicide in this city. This time two victims shot inside their home.

This police scanner recording describes, "The husband has been shot a suspect broke into the home and shot him."

Oakland police did not clarify the circumstances behind this homicide. Next door neighbor Addis Rezene was feeling helpless.

RELATED: Oakland woman demands change after whole family robbed in separate violent attacks

"I heard the shots," said Rezene.

Once police arrived Rezene confirmed the worst news. His neighbor and friend had been killed.

"He was a friend and I stayed up all night until I saw him leave in a coroner's vehicle," said Rezene.

Rezene remembers hearing a total of two gunshots.

In the police scanner recording authorities described the other victim's injury, "She was shot in the arm. We are going to need medical. Copy second victim shot in the arm."

RELATED: Oakland mayor, police chief plead with community as city records 100th homicide

Oakland records 100th homicide of 2021 (1 of 5)

Rezene identified his neighbor as Dirk Tillotson, an education activist with the blog "Great School voices." The second victim was Dirk's wife Amina.

Dirk Tillotson was pronounced dead on scene. His wife is in stable condition. Saturday Oakland police homicide investigators were at their house searching for answers.

"I thought of myself. I'm the same age as the person who was shot. I'm sleeping at that time. What can I do to protect myself? Should I get a gun?," said Steve Zee, an Oakland resident who lives up the block from the shooting.

Zee is one of the neighbors who are asking for city officials to help, "We need leaders who not just listen but some type of action is taking place."

Zee says in the last three months, they've noticed an increase of gunshots in the once quiet Maxwell Park Neighborhood.

RELATED: OPD denounces city's rising violence after officer ambushed, shot responding to call

Luz Pena: "Are you hoping that neighbors could have somewhat of a neighborhood watch?"

Steve Zee: "That is my hope"

Claudia Carty bought a dog a month ago hoping he can protect them.

"There are a lot of burglaries around," said Carty and added, "We make sure all our doors are locked... It's really scary."

Tillotson's killing is the 105th homicide in Oakland this year. Police have not released any suspect information.

"106 is right up the corner. If this person is arrested there is another one out there," said Zee.