Local News Matters weekly newsletter
Start your week with a little inspiration. Sign up for our informative, community-based newsletter, delivered on Mondays with news about the Bay Area.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced the city’s 100th homicide of 2021 at a Monday new conference in which he called on the community to help his officers reduce gun violence.
With the Oakland City Council scheduled tonight to take up two proposals aimed at boosting its violence prevention and policing efforts, and in the wake of a particularly bloody week, Armstrong said Oaklanders are coping with extreme levels of “fear and trauma.”
“It’s been a very challenging weekend for the Oakland Police Department and the Oakland community,” Armstrong said. “We’ve had four homicides since Saturday and 10 in a seven-day period.”
“If this is not a calling to everybody in the community that this is a crisis, I don’t know what is,” said Armstrong, who started the briefing with 100 seconds of silence in honor of the city’s homicide victims.
During Monday’s briefing, Armstrong and Lt. Fred Shavies briefly described nine other killings from the past week, including the Sept. 13 shooting deaths of a man and woman on the 3400 block of 68th Avenue in the presence of two young children.
“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.”Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong
The city’s 100th homicide took place outside the Coliseum BART Station on San Leandro Avenue early Monday, where a man died after being shot multiple times, Armstrong said.
“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.”
Armstrong said his department is struggling with a “severe staffing shortage” and that with its current 695 officers, it’s the smallest the department has been in years.
He also said 46 officers have left the department in the past four months.
On Tuesday, the City Council will take up a proposal from Councilmember Sheng Thao to add an additional police academy in fiscal year 2022-23 and one from Councilmember Treva Reid to both declare gun violence a public health crisis and ask Alameda County to free up money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to fund neighborhood violence prevention services.
On Monday, Armstrong asked the public to provide any information that could lead to suspects in the city’s latest homicides and to reach out to people they might know who are involved in violent crimes.
“If we know individuals involved in violence, if we know individuals who are carrying firearms, if we know individuals who feel like their lives are at risk, we need your help,” Armstrong said.
“We have to get people in our community that are involved in violence to put the guns down,” he said.