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Police, city officials seek help locating suspects in murder of Otaez restaurant owner Jesus Campos

on April 9, 2011

Jesus Campos, a prominent business owner and community leader, was shot and killed outside of his Fruitvale restaurant at 5:36 a.m. Friday morning.

Police believe that Campos, 58, unwittingly disrupted a robbery attempt at Otaez Restaurant on International Boulevard and was shot by the robbery suspects.  Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, but Campos died from his wounds after being taken to the hospital.

Flowers and prayer candles left by mourners in front of Otaez. Photo by Roberto Daza.

At a press conference Friday afternoon hosted by several city officials, Mayor Jean Quan called Campos’ death a “great loss to the city of Oakland.”  Campos opened his restaurant 24 years ago, and was known personally by many city leaders, including Quan and Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente.

“It’s not just that this happened in my district.  This is a little bit personal,” said De La Fuente.

De La Fuente, who knew Campos for 35 years, praised him for being a model citizen, and a pillar in his community. “This is something that will not be forgotten.  We will get these individuals,” he said.

A reward of $30,000 is being offered by members of the community for information leading to the arrest of the two suspects, identified by the police as African-American males between the ages of 21-35.  Quan said she plans to ask the Governor Jerry Brown for state support in the amount of $20,000 to bring the total reward to $50,000.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts speaks at a press conference Friday afternoon pledging increased police patrols in the Fruitvale area. Mayor Jean Quan stands at the podium behind him. Photo by Roberto Daza.

The Oakland Police Department has a monthly budget of $150,000 for officer overtime, and Chief Anthony Batts promised to redistribute some of those resources soon to “inundate” the Fruitvale district where Campos was killed, dispatching more officers who will patrol the area on foot.

Campos and other business owners in the area had recently begun working with Quan to discuss ways to reduce crime and improve business in the area, where Quan said she had gone for a walk with businesses owners last Saturday.

Mario Juarez of the Oakland Latino Merchant’s Association owns a real estate business on International Boulevard not far from Campos’s restaurant.  “He was a fighter.  He fought for his employees, he fought for his family, he fought for his community.  He fought to the end for a better Oakland,” Juarez said after the press conference.

Campos immigrated to Oakland from Mexico, where he opened Otaez Restaurant in 1986, follow by a second branch in 2006 in Alameda.  Juarez said Campos had nearly 150 people on his payroll between the two restaurants and could have easily afforded to move into the Oakland hills, but chose to remain close to the Fruitvale community.

Otaez has long been a local favorite and, according to Juarez, is popular hangout for Oakland police officers.  “Any officer that didn’t eat there was a rookie,” he said.

A bit of police tape clings to the wall at Otaez. Photo by Roberto Daza.

Police are asking for help from community to find the suspects or the vehicle they were driving, described as a clean, grey 2000-model Buick or Pontiac four-door with tinted windows and 20-inch rims.

Anyone with information should call the Oakland Police Department’s lead investigator on this case at 510-238-7959, or the Crime Stoppers hotline at 510-777-8572.

1 Comment

  1. […] over public safety in their neighborhood. At the first meeting since the April 8 shooting death of Otaez restaurant owner Jesús “Chuy” Campos, merchants asked for a greater police presence in the […]

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