(KRON) — It’s been one year since KRON4 security guard Kevin Nishita was killed on the job. Three people have been charged with his murder. Early into the investigation, authorities pledged to seek justice in the case. KRON4 spoke to Oakland’s police chief about crime-fighting efforts in the year since Nishita’s murder and how the department is working to prevent more senseless killings.
“I reflect on how traumatic it was for our entire community,” said OPD Chief, LeRonne Armstrong. “This was a person in law enforcement community that I am a part of and so it really is something that weighs on me and continues to motivate me to continue to address violence in the city.”
Looking back one year later, Armstrong remembers getting the call no cop ever wants to hear … a former officer, Kevin Nishita, was down. Although he was rushed to the hospital and into emergency surgery, he died of his injuries three days later.
“When it happened, we knew that this was going to be a difficult case for us to solve. Initially, we didn’t have many leads,” Armstrong recalled.
He also says he recalls talking with Nishita’s widow at his funeral.
“I told her from the beginning that we would find the people responsible,” he said. “Due to the help in the community bringing forth information, we were able to make two key arrests in this case, and we’re going to at some point, make a third arrest.”
Armstrong said Nishita’s death hit hard, but so does facing reality in his hometown. Oakland is a city suffering enormous losses. The murder rate has surpassed 100 lives lost this year, and 1,300 guns have been taken off the streets, but senseless murders of innocent people continue to rip families apart.
Armstrong said new programs and community engagement is their primary focus to help combat crime.
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“We’ve really increased our enforcement effort to make sure that we are careful with people that they’re not going to get away with committing these acts of violence in the City of Oakland,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong said as we honor the memory of Kevin Nishita, it is also a time to focus on the future and try to do better for all victims of violence.
“Every time that we can do our jobs to address gun violence or remove a weapon from our community and prevent one of these crimes from happening, it is preventing trauma from coming into somebody else’s household. So really it is our effort every day to try and stop the pain that’s happening in our community,” he said.