In the wake of a weekend fatal shooting that shocked the city’s Asian community, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said the crime “is not who Oakland is” when he briefed reporters this week.

Lili Xu, 60, was fatally shot Sunday in the 1000 block of Fifth Avenue in Oakland. (Image via Lili Xu, DDS, Family & Implant Dentistry)

Oakland dentist Lili Xu, 60, was shot just after 2 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of Fifth Avenue as she was getting out of a car, police and City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas’ office said.

Police said Xu struggled to hang on to her valuables as the offender accosted her, then shots were fired, Armstrong said.

“We had another devastating day,” Armstrong said.

Two people lost their lives Sunday. The other was a man officers found on 90th Avenue suffering from blunt force trauma. They were the 76th and 77th slayings in Oakland this year.

Last year at this time, 81 people had died in Oakland killings.

Police did not have enough information to say whether Xu’s slaying was a hate crime, Armstrong said.

Xu’s vehicle pulled into the 1100 block of Fifth Avenue when a white, older model Lexus pulled up alongside, the chief said. A suspect approached the passenger side of the car Xu was in as she was getting out, Armstrong said. That is when multiple rounds were fired, the chief said.

Xu died at a hospital. Police posted a surveillance video of the fatal attack on the department’s Facebook page.

Addressing crime in Little Saigon

Armstrong said that police have run many operations in the Little Saigon area. Additional officers were four or five blocks away when the shooting occurred, Armstrong said.

In those operations, police have made several key arrests, recovered guns and are addressing human trafficking in the area.

Armstrong believes there were witnesses to Sunday’s shooting and that police will identify those responsible for Xu’s death.

Police are looking for this white Tesla that was witnessed in surveillance video during the fatal shooting of dentist Lili Xu on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022. (Image courtesy of Oakland Police Department/Facebook)

A white, four-door Tesla was seen in the area and police are asking for someone in that vehicle to please talk to police about what they saw. The Tesla was on Fifth Avenue traveling toward Interstate 880 about 2 p.m. The Tesla had a distinctive roof rack and a bike rack on its tail.

“This crime was senseless,” Armstrong said.

He said the department is adding more officers because “preventing crime is also about having resources to deter crime.”

The department currently has 685 officers, which is the highest number all year. The department graduated 30 officers Friday and started a new academy Monday. The department expects to graduate another 25 officers in October, Armstrong said.

Anyone with information about Xu’s killing is asked to call police at 510-238-3641.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.