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Community remains shaken by shooting of three-year-old

on August 10, 2011

East Oakland neighbors packed the intersection of 64th Avenue and International Boulevard Tuesday evening to mourn the three-year-old boy who was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting on Monday.

Over a loudspeaker, pastors, neighbors and city officials voiced anger over the violence that continues to plague their community and left Carlos Nava dead.

“It takes an animal to take the life of a three-year-old baby on an urban street in the middle of the day,” Police Chief Anthony Batts said, gripping the microphone. “I’ve had enough. It’s time to take a stance.”

Neighbors, still shaken by Monday’s events, took turns kneeling down to the sidewalk memorial of lit candles and stuffed animals next to a large photo of Nava. Many said they don’t feel safe walking during the day anymore, even to run simple errands.

“We’re tired of the violence,” said Kareen Hunter, who lives a couple of blocks away. “It’s every other day, we’re hearing about shootings and it’s sickening. Kids and parents can’t go the grocery store or walk their dogs. We don’t feel safe.”

Three-year-old Carlos was with his family outside a grocery store early Monday afternoon on International Boulevard, police said, when one of the over dozen bullets fired from a car during a drive-by shooting struck him. He was taken to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where he was pronounced dead.

The intended victims, two adult men, were also hit by the gunfire but survived with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The boy was not related to them and has no other connection to them, according to police.

On Wednesday morning, police spokesperson Cynthia Perkins said investigators believe the shooting may have been a result of gang activity in the area. In an email, Perkins said an arrest was made on Tuesday but it is not yet considered related to the shooting of Nava.

Batts said multiple police agencies across the East Bay, as well as the Alameda County Sherriff’s Office and federal agencies have been checking multiple locations for potential suspects. “This case has struck a nerve,” Batts said. “It’s struck a nerve with our community, it struck a nerve with law enforcement, and you’re seeing a major response.

Several news sources have reported that two arrests were made in Pittsburg, but Batts did not confirm those reports. He said that within the next 24 to 36 hours law enforcement will have all of their suspects in custody.

Batts also said there have been no shootings since Monday afternoon because of the extra officers out on the street who have been deployed to help with the investigation. “Many people think violence can’t be stopped in Oakland that it’s traditional, that’s been here for a long point of time,” Batts said. “This is clear evidence that if you have the officers out here you can stop the violence. This city can be as safe as any other city.”

At Tuesday night’s vigil, Oakland City Council President Larry Reid agreed with Batts that more police officers are needed but said that residents will have to open their wallets first. “When [Batts] took this job, we started out with 830 officers. We’re down to about 666 officers. If this city is going to be a safe place for us to live and raise our family then we as a city have to determine what it’s going to cost us to do that and how to get there,” Reid said.

In July, the Oakland City Council voted to place an $80-per-year parcel tax on a November ballot that would raise $11 million a year for the next five years to help maintain city services. Money from the tax would be used to fund another police academy and to maintain police staffing levels, in addition to keeping libraries and recreation centers open and restoring some park services.

“If we don’t have a parcel tax that’s passed soon,” Batts said, “we’re not going to have a police academy and we’re going to be addressing this more often.”

Neighbors at Tuesday’s vigil passed out yellow flyers with safety tips and suggestions about how to anonymously report crime and how to mentor an Oakland youth. Batts said he recognizes the importance of community organizing, but it’s not enough. “You don’t want a police state,” he said, “but you want enough [police] to deal with the demand in the city.”



  1. Nakisha on August 10, 2011 at 11:31 am

    My heart goes out to the families and community members affected by this tradgedy. More police only leads to a police state. It helps with the symptoms but does not cure the problem. More educational opportunities such as, competent schools/teachers, after school programs, mentoring, sports, and art prgrams provide sustainable change.

    • JaneBrunner on August 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm


      More police does not only lead to a police state. Study after study shows that an increased police presence leads to lower crime. Having more police can help with the problem of people dying in the streets in broad daylight. More education, programs, and sports are also needed – those are all good long-term approaches to creating a peaceful community, but they do little to nothing in the short term. If there were magically 1000 new education/program/sports activities tomorrow, would the violence stop the day after tomorrow?

      Of course not. It takes years for education and programs to make a difference.

      If there were 300 more police able to patrol our streets tomorrow, would the violence stop tomorrow? Of course not. But it is more likely to lessen violence in the short term.

      We need a balanced approach.

  2. Leonard Raphael on August 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Whether you are convinced we need to lay off half the cops and spend that money on after school and anti-violence programs; or you think (as I do) that we need 1,000 cops on the street, there won’t be any policy options until the Council and Mayor breaks the compensation structures for ALL city employees.

    There is no way we can afford to maintain even the current low and dropping level of cops on the street without drastically cutting every other City service.

    Even if the 80/year parcel tax were dedicated to cop funding, which it is NOT, the 12mill/year it would generate would not be enough to prevent the massive cutbacks in services that our elected officials have managed to delay for the last three years since the real estate crash with one time budget manuevers and selling mothballed real estate to the redevelopment agency at dot com prices.

    City employees of all
    categories are paid better than state or federal employees plus get great retirement benefits that the rest of us haven’t seen in years.

    The money is not here and is not just around the corner if you’ve followed any of the world and national political and economic events of the last two years.

    If the EU can’t bail out entire countries, and even Obama is talking cuts of 4 Trillion dollars, the days of generous Federal and State grants have come to an end, whether for social programs or for law enforcement.

    The Council has to send a crystal clear message to the city employees that they will not sacrifice the welfare of an entire city for the rash promises they made in current and past labor contracts.

    Start by approving a ballot measure that repeals binding arbitraton for cops and fire; repeal the charter prohibition on outsourcing non security positions. Then tell the employees they have a choice: drastic retroactive cuts in retirement and current benefits; plus further cuts in pay.

    Or put their functions up for bid to private and non profit service providers.

    For cops and fire, slash their pay and benefits. If they don’t like it, without binding arbitration, all they can do is walk.

    But no, our Mayor and council agreed to a police contract that prohibits the council from repealing binding arbitration. All they got in return was a delay in cop pay raises. That’s all.

    -len raphael, cpa

  3. […] started with the killing of Carlos Nava, a 3-year-old child, in August during a drive-by shooting on International Boulevard. Then in early […]

  4. […] started with the killing of Carlos Nava, a 3-year-old child, in August during a drive-by shooting on International Boulevard. Then in early […]

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