OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A wave of gun violence in Oakland is leaving communities traumatized, residents feeling unsafe in their own homes, and the city reaching a sad milestone, police said.
Last week there were five homicides within five days. No arrests have been made in connection to any of October’s deadly shootings. Oakland is up to 80 homicides in 2020.
The degree of “unprecedented” and “senseless,” violence happening in neighborhoods is “unacceptable,” Deputy Police Chief Leronne Armstrong said.
“Our children are home as a result of this pandemic. They are unsafe. We can’t sit inside our homes and allow this to happen. The violence in this community must stop,” Armstrong said.
One triple shooting happened in broad daylight on Oct. 14. Police said Jorge Martinez, 19, of Oakland, and Juan Diaz-Ochoa, 21, of Oakland, were shot to death following a confrontation on 84th Avenue. The third victim survived. Family members wept on one side of the yellow crime tape as detectives gathered evidence on the other side.
Martinez and Diaz-Ochoa were the city’s 77th and 78th victims of 2020.
“But they are not just numbers. These are people. People from our community that have lost their lives to senseless violence. This doesn’t end today. The community members that live in this block have to live with … bullets flying indiscriminately and putting everybody at risk,” Armstrong said.
“Even last night, three blocks away from this location, (there were) 60 rounds fired in a residential neighborhood. It’s leaving a traumatic impact on our community. When the (news) cameras are gone, when the police cars are no longer here, and the yellow tape is down, they are left with the experiences and emotions,” Armstrong said.
A second triple shooting happened less than 48 hours after the first triple shooting on 89th Avenue. Officers found two men and one woman suffering from gunshot wounds. One of the victims, identified as Alvin Hogan, 39, of Oakland, died.
Over the weekend, hundreds of mourners attended a funeral for Aaron Pryor, a 16-year-old boy and star running back for Skyline High School who was murdered in East Oakland on Sept. 27. Pryor was shot to death in the 5800 block of Elizabeth Street.
His mother said Pryor had dreams of being in the NFL. “I’m so torn and hurt,” she wrote. “I will never be the same.”
Barry Donelan, President of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, said, “The violence that killed young Mr. Pryor (continues) unabated. Between Saturday evening into Sunday morning, Oakland experienced five shootings that wounded a 13-year-old and added to two more murders (No. 79 & No. 80) to the violent Oakland death toll this year.”
The spike in gun violence is happening even after police officers succeeded in getting more guns off the streets. The Oakland Police Department has recovered 40 percent more illegal firearms this year compared to this same month last year.
But police say it’s going to take more than that to stop the violence.
“The individuals who are willing to pick up the firearms and use them in our community — they have to put the guns down,” Armstrong said.
Another vital factor is the number of community members who are willing to come forward with information that will help officers bring killers to justice.
“We are here. Every lead we get, we are going to follow-up on. So if there is information out there in our community that can help us solve these investigations we need that information. This is going to take a collective effort, by all of us, to say that this violence is unacceptable,” Armstrong said.
October Homicide Victims
- Oct. 2: Lance Barr, 24, of Oakland. Shooting scene: 2100 MacArthur Blvd.
- Oct. 14: Jorge Martinez, 19, of Oakland and Juan Diaz-Ochoa,21, of Oakland. Shooting scene: 1900 84th Ave.
- Oct. 15: Alvin Hogan, 39, of Oakland. Shooting scene: 1400 89th Ave.
- Oct. 18: Leemo Tagleoo, 25. Shooting scene: 9900 MacArthur Boulevard
Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call the Homicide Section at 510-238-3821.