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Head and shoulders shot of an Oakland police officer in uniform standing to the left of a blue flad with Oakalnd Police badge on it. The shot is taken with the bay behind the officer, who is smiling, though showing no teeth. He is Asian and bald.

Oakland officer killed in line of duty was a Vietnamese immigrant on the force for nearly four years

on December 30, 2023

An Oakland police officer was shot and killed Friday, responding to an overnight burglary on the 400 block of Embarcadero.

Officer Tuan Le was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked car when he was shot around 4:30 a.m., police said at a news conference Friday. Le, 36, emigrated from Vietnam when he was a child and joined the force in 2020. He was the 54th Oakland officer to be killed in the line of duty.

“I am truly devastated by this news and I know that all of Oakland feels the impact of this loss,” Mayor Sheng Thao said at the news conference.

Interim Chief Darren Allison said police responded to a reported burglary at a cannabis dispensary around 1 a.m., finding no one on the scene but that a burglary had taken place. That building was burglarized again about three hours later.

Allison said several officers, both uniformed and in plain clothes, responded to the second call, at 4:33 a.m., arriving as several people were fleeing the scene. One of those people fired multiple times at Le’s vehicle, striking the officer, he said.

Police did not return fire, Allison said. No suspects were in custody Friday. Police are asking witnesses and anyone with information about the burglary and shooting to contact the homicide unit at 510-238-3821.

“The dangers and demands of this profession are real and come with significant sacrifice,” Allison said. “Sadly, today, one of our officers paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Le died at Highland Hospital at 8:44 a.m.

Allison would not say if police had surveillance video of the shooting. He also would not say whether Le and another officer in the vehicle were pursuing suspects when the shots were fired.  

In a news release, the city said Le was a community resource officer in West Oakland for the past two years, working to strengthen the bond between police and residents. “His tireless efforts in fostering positive relationships made a lasting impact.”


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