Two young men were shot at 59th St and Shattuck Ave. at 4:30 p.m. yesterday, Oakland Police Public Information Officer Jeff Thomason said.
An 18-year-old man was shot in the jaw and fell onto the Oakland-bound lane in the 5800 block of Shattuck Avenue. His friend, 19, was shot in the stomach. The police are withholding the names of the victims, but both are expected to survive, Thomason said.
Police said the 19-year-old moved to take shelter or seek medical assistance at a house half a block away. The attacker approached the victims from the sidewalk, said police, but as of this afternoon no one had been arrested.
The victim’s older brother, Dante, who asked that his last name not be used, arrived at the scene minutes after the shooting took place.
“They were walking from the corner store,” he said. “I was coming from my house, down the street, when I heard some shots and saw my little brother on the ground. I held his hand and told him not to panic and that the ambulance was on its way.”
It took about 15 or 20 minutes for the ambulance and police to arrive, Dante said. When they did he went to fetch his grandmother and headed to Highland Hospital where the two men are being treated. His brother was sedated. “They had a breathing tube down his throat, the way the bullet went in it went just past his air passage,” Dante said. “It hurts, because that’s my little brother and I know he wasn’t involved in anything.”
“We were born and raised in this area,” he said. “It’s bad, but at the same time, this is where my family is. I’m just happy he’s alive.”
The incident is one of a number of crimes reported in the area in recent years, said Don Link, the chairperson for the area’s Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council. He said he was concerned that the shooting may be linked to tension between rival gang members from North Oakland and South Berkeley, which the NCPC has tried to confront.
“Our concern is to get the shooting to stop,” he said. “If this is connected to the gang activity – we have people throughout the beat that are willing to do something.” NCPC activities have included meeting with police and other NCPC groups in neighboring police beats and putting up posters offering contact details for where residents can report suspicious behavior.
“It’s about the only thing citizens can do – the glare of publicity quietens things down,” he said, but police have yet to confirm if the incident is gang-related.
Whether the event was gang related or not, some residents see it as another sign that it is time to leave the neighborhood.
“I’m ready to move,” said a mother whose house sits adjacent to the location of the shootings and who declined to be named. After picking her seven-year old daughter up from school yesterday she arrived at her road to find the whole street blocked off. Her partner said, “It’s usually been pretty quiet. It’s never got to this level before.” Their home was considered a part of the crime scene and police told them they could not return to their home that night.
“It’s bad. One, that it happened at all and two, the inconvenience of not being able to go to our house,” the woman’s partner said. “I’m ready to move.”
It is not unusual for such incidents to take place, said another resident.
“I generally feel pretty safe, but I don’t walk around at night, particularly on this block – because I’ve heard about this block,” said one woman who has lived in the neighborhood for 5 years, but said she has had enough. “I’m trying to move. It’s scary – innocent people can get killed or hurt,” she said.
“I heard the fire engine. I came on down here, there was a body lying on the driveway – he had a bullet in his jaw,” she said. “I just kept my head down and don’t look back.”
She’s not the only resident who makes a concerted effort to steer clear of such incidents, frightened of becoming involved.
“I heard two shots,” said James Scott who has worked for 12 years at Dorsey’s Locker, a restaurant and bar on the block where the shootings took place. “I was upstairs. I’m not coming downstairs though. I don’t want nothing to do with it.”
Daniel Johnson who owns Oakland Klippers, a barbershop at 5833 Shattuck, said he was lucky his shop is closed Mondays because it meant he wasn’t around yesterday. “Surprised – yeah – it’s not a normal thing to happen in broad daylight. I’ve been here for 9 years – ain’t nothing happened to me or my shop,” he said. “Some guy got shot a couple of blocks from here, but having something happen this close to me – that was the first time.
“The war is on the street now – ain’t no telling who’s going to get hurt,” he added. “You can be scared and tuck yourself away, or you can go out. I can’t control it. I pray – that’s it. That’s all I can do.”