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March 21, 2009

Three Oakland police officers, one from Danville, dead in gun battles; fourth officer, from Concord, on life support; suspect also dead

10:40 p.m.: The Oakland Tribune says police have identified the three officers slain Saturday afternoon as all sergeants: Erv Romans, 43, of Danville; and Dan Sakai, 35, and Mark Dunakin, 41. The fourth wounded officer, Officer John Hege, 41, of Concord, is on life support at Highland Hospital.

According to the Tribune, the suspect, who was fatally wounded in the second of his two gun battles with police in East Oakland, was identified as Lovelle Mixon, 27, of Oakland. Mixon was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon. He also had a no-bail warrant for her arrest for violating parole. He has prior convictions in Alameda County for grand theft and possession of marijuana.

The Tribune called the violence "the most horrific day" in the history of the Oakland Police Department, and KTVU said the three officers killed represented the third highest number of law enforcement fatalities in a single incident in California history.

Hege and Dunakin were shot at about 1:15 while making a traffic stop in the 7400 block of MacArthur Boulevard.

Sergeants Romans and Sakai were veteran SWAT members. They were fatally wounded trying to enter the apartment building on 74th Street where the suspect was hiding.

Romans also was featured in this April 2008 KTVU report about Oakland police finding one of the largest and most elaborate indoor pot farms in the city's history.

9 p.m.: The San Francisco Chronicle says that three officers were killed, two in in the first shooting at 1:15 p.m. when they pulled a car over in the 7400 MacArthur Boulevard, a block from the Eastmont police substation. The third officer was one of the SWAT officers who tried to enter an apartment building on 74th Avenue near Hillside Street, where the suspect was said to be hiding.

The suspect fired at the SWAT officers who returned fire, killing the suspect. A four injured officer was said to be on life support.

8:30 p.m.: KGOAm810 says that all four officers have died as a result of the injuries they suffered in the two shootings.

7:45 p.m. The Oakland Tribune is backing off its report that all four officers have died, saying that three are confirmed dead, and one in critically injured. CBS5.com continues to say that all four are dead. The San Francisco Chronicle, after bannering the CBS5.com report an hour or so ago, is now just sticking to the officers being critically injured.

6:45 p.m. CBS5.com is reporting that all four officers have died. The Oakland Tribune also is reporting that the officers have died.

6:15 KTVU.com says the four police officers were critically wounded and one suspect killed in two related shootings in East Oakland's troubled MacArthur Boulevard Saturday afternoon. All four of the officers were said to be in very critical condition at Highland Hospital in Oakland. KTVU suggests that the suspect, who was killed in a gun battle with police, is the only involved.

So, it's not likely that this incident was related to the big car chase that my husband, son, and me saw while traveling eastbound on Interstate 24.

Then again, the big car chase we witnessed took place at about 2:30 p.m. At that time, the suspect in the officers' shooting was still at large, following the first shooting of two officers at about 1:15 p.m. So, it's possible that, given the gravity of the situation, police throughout the East Bay, including in Lafayette, were on high alert and looking for any motorist who was driving the least bit suspiciously.

With regard to the Oakland tragedy, here's the latest from KTVU.com, whose anchor Ken Wayne called it one of the saddest in the history of Bay Area law enforcement.

KTVU.com says the violence broke out at about 1:15 p.m. with a traffic stop at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, one block from the Eastmont police substation. Two officers were wounded there, and the suspect reportedly fled on foot.

About two hours later, police learned that the suspect was hiding in an apartment building at Hillside Street and 74th Avenue, about a block from the first shooting scene. Officers, including SWAT team offcers, were trying to enter the apartment building. In an exchange of gunfire, two officers were shot and the suspect fatally wounded.

The four officers were taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland. Scores of police officers and families of officers were waiting outside the hospital to show their support and to hear updates on their fallen colleagues.

Police have not released the names of the officers or of the suspect.

Given all that we now know about the Oakland tragedy, I don't know that the car chase my family and I witnessed matters all that much.

But, here are the details anyway, in case it's of any consequence in any other way.

We were returning from a quick jaunt over to SF's Chinatown. We were traveling east on Interstate 24 at about 2:30 p.m. and coming up the rise from Orinda to Lafayette. Soccer Dad was driving, and I had my nose in a book.

"There's a car chase," my husband said calmly.

I looked up, and a black, or dark green, pickup rush past us, then ahead of us, careening in and out of traffic. A police car was in pursuit. As we approached the 24 entrance from Acalanes Road (near the Lafayette Reservoir), we noticed two Lafayette police cars waiting on the righthand shoulder to join the pursuit, which they did as soon as the perp pickup passed. Another Lafayette police car came up behind us on the left.

In all, about four to five cop cars were following the perp pickup, also weaving in and out of traffic, though the cop cars were doing so without lights flashing or sirens blaring--perhaps in a traffic safety measure.

Ambulance chaser that I am, if I were driving, I would have sped up to see better what was going on, but Soccer Dad is the grown-up in our family, a safe, responsible driver, and he kept to the speed limit.

We lost sight of the perp pickup, but I could see some of the Lafayette cop cars exiting at Pleasant Hill road in Lafayette. Soccer Dad wouldn't indulge my ambulance chasing tendencies and get off at Pleasant Hill Road. It's possible that the perp pickup continued south or north on Interstate 680, where cop cars from other jurisdictions picked up the chase.

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5 comments:

Mayor of CLAYCORD said...

CBS5 is reporting that all 4 officers have died.

Anonymous said...

What a tragic loss for all of us.

Some members of our society have no respect for the sanctity of life and I for one am glad that these brave officers were able to put this scumbag out of business as they gave their own lives.

One wonders how our governing bodies can be so short sighted when it comes to drasticcaly cutting law enforcement budgets in these hard times. Do they really think that the bad guys will take time off until the economy improves?

Our thoughts, prayers and thanks should all be with the families and fellow officers of the slain policemen.

Anonymous said...

oh, no.

Anonymous said...

It is time for us as a society to stand up and do something about all the thuggery.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how this will affect police/community relations in Oakland. And after BART shooting. Not pretty.