Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oakland, CA: Arrests Made After Gunfire Erupts At Oakland Funeral

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Five people were under arrest Tuesday night after shots were fired at an Oakland church during a funeral for an 18-year-old man who was allegedly killed last week by his teenage girlfriend at his birthday party.
The shooting triggered panic and a large brawl erupted involving hundreds of people, some of whom police said were armed.
Oakland Police spokesman Officer Jeff Thomason said the shooting took place around 12:33 p.m. at Oakland’s Cosmopolitan Baptist Church.
A funeral was being held at the church for Davante Riley, 18, who was shot and killed at a party at an apartment in the 2200 block of East 20th Street early the morning of April 18.
Oakland Police Lt. Ersie Joyner said hundreds of people were attending the service and officers arrived to find a "huge melee" in the street. About 300 people were involved, some armed with guns.
Oakland resident Chris Hawkins said gunshots rang out, spreading panic.
“I saw people leaving, then they came running back,” said Hawkins. “They said someone had a gun and everyone ran.”
Richard Williams, another Oakland resident, dropped to floor when he heard the gunshots.
“We heard boom, boom,” Williams said. “Sounded like a .22 to me. I just hit the floor. I stayed down and it started again. I hid behind a podium.”
A call for additional officers immediately went out and a large response was made. Some officers were likely from a massive parolee sweep under way all day Tuesday in the nearby neighborhood.
Police said while it didn’t appear anyone was hit by gunfire, two people were taken to the hospital: one for anxiety, the other, a pregnant woman who was having complications.
Police arrested three people in connection with the shooting and two people officers said were involved in the fight.
A 15-year-old girl has been arrested and charged with murder for Riley's slaying. Her identity has not been revealed by authorities because of her age.
Meanwhile, the shootout at the funeral unsettled the entire neighborhood as the incident forced lockdowns at two adjoining schools only a block away. A number of understandably tense parents were stranded trying to pick up their children outside the school grounds.
“I don't know what's going on,” said panicked parent Victor Cruz, whose five-year-old was inside one of the new Highland and Rise Community Schools that share a campus on 85th Avenue. “We have no information.”
A padlocked fence kept Cruz and other parents from reaching their children while police tried to quell the violence down the street.
“I’m worried about my baby,” said parent Nacole Schackelford. “She comes first. She is the only one I got.”
The students and teachers inside could hear the shots, sirens and helicopters overhead.
“They said there were gunshots in the neighborhood and that was enough for me,” said Principal Liz Ozol.
She locked down the school to try to ensure the safety of the children. Shades were drawn and teachers refused to open their locked classroom doors.
“It was shocking at the beginning but, we stayed calm and played a game,” said kindergarten teacher Covi Valera. “Like we had to hide and we had to be quiet and, if we did, they were going to get a prize.”
Finally, after two hours, police unlocked the gate and parents rushed in to scoop up their children.

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