Four Killed in 11 Oakland Shootings
Four people have been killed and seven others injured in a rash of 11 shootings throughout Oakland since Thursday, and Oakland police are working to find solutions to a rise in violent crime in the city this year, police said.
Najon Jackson, Giselle Ortiz and Charles Smith were killed in separate shootings Saturday night and Sunday morning, Sgt. Holly Joshi said.
Another man was found dead in East Oakland at about 10:30 a.m. Monday, marking Oakland's 64th homicide this year, according to police statistics.
At this time last year, Oakland had seen 50 homicides, but this year there has been a 4 percent rise in violent crime, police said.
Joshi said Oakland police are preparing to combat the rise in violent crime with a more proactive approach and are assigning officers to an end-of-summer crime reduction team.
The manpower will be provided by the return of 24 officers who were laid off last July. Grappling with a budget shortfall, Oakland laid off 80 police officers last year, but after recent concessions from city unions, Oakland has been able to hire back some of its depleted police force.
Joshi said most of the 24 rehired officers would be back on patrol by Saturday after a week of training. Officers who were employed by other police agencies could return to active duty after one week, while officers who have been unemployed or employed in non-police positions will require more training.
Once Oakland has added to its patrol force, 18 officers with specialized training will be reassigned to units that will be "out in the field gathering intelligence and doing targeted enforcement." Joshi said that after the layoffs such specialized units were disbanded.
Joshi said it is difficult to point to any single cause for the rise in violent crime in Oakland this year, but that conflicts between rival gangs and accessibility to guns has contributed to Oakland's rising homicide rate.
"The accessibility of guns in this city is out of control," Joshi said. She said guns for many of the city's youth are "so close and accessible when they get into a personal dispute -- it's right there."
Vigil Held for Emeryville Student Killed in East Oakland Shooting
More than 100 students and faculty attended a vigil at Emeryville Secondary School Monday night for slain 16-year-old student Najon Jackson, according to Emery Unified School District Superintendent Debbra Lindo.
Jackson, who would have been a junior at the school this fall, was killed in a shooting in the 9300 block of Sunnyside Street in East Oakland at about 11:15 p.m. Saturday, according to Oakland police. They say they do not yet know the motive for the slaying.
Jackson's family members, who also participated in the vigil, asked the news media to respect their privacy and not attend, Lindo said.
School board president Miguel Dwin said the fact that so many students attended the hastily organized vigil at a time when school is not in session shows how popular Jackson was.
"He was a cheery, bubbly kind of kid, and everyone liked him," Dwin said.
Lindo said she did not personally know Jackson because she has only been in her new post for three weeks but said she's been told that "he was a bright student who had a promising future ahead of him."
Lindo said Jackson was interested in engineering, liked sports and was planning to try out for the varsity football team this fall.
She said most students knew Jackson because he had been attending Emeryville schools since kindergarten even though he lived in Oakland, as he was an inter-district transfer student.
"Our hearts go out to his family, and our students are really affected by this," Lindo said.
She said counselors and psychologists were on hand at the school Monday night to provide "social and emotional support" to students who are coping with Jackson's death.
The school "is a place where students can gather and be with caring adults during this difficult time," Lindo said.
Richmond Shooting Victim Dies from Injuries
The second victim of an early morning shooting in Richmond's Iron Triangle neighborhood died from his injuries Monday afternoon, Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said.
The shooting happened at about 2:40 a.m. in the 700 block of Nevin Avenue in front of an apartment complex where one of the victims, 25-year-old Rose McFadden, lived, Richmond police Detective Nicole Abetkov said.
It appears that McFadden and 24-year-old Antoine Williams Jr. were in a car waiting for the gate to the apartment complex to open when they were shot, according to police.
Police were notified of the shooting by the city's ShotSpotter alert system and arrived to find McFadden dead on the sidewalk. Williams was found inside a car that had crashed through a gate and into a Dumpster, police said.
He was airlifted to a local trauma center, where he died Monday afternoon.
According to Abetkov, McFadden was the mother of four young children and was active in the religious community.
As of Monday afternoon, no suspects had been identified, but investigators were hoping that the shooting was caught on video by the apartment complex's surveillance system, Abetkov said.
Abetkov said there is nothing to indicate that either victim was targeted, and investigators believe they may have been chosen randomly as part of an ongoing feud between gang members in north and central Richmond.
The shooting brings the city's homicide total to 23 to far this year, compared to 21 in all of 2010, Gagan said.
Man and Granddaughter Recovering After Near-Drowning Incident
A man and his 3-year-old granddaughter are recovering after a 9-year-old boy found both of them floating in a residential pool Monday afternoon, a fire spokeswoman said.
Several people called 911 around 1 p.m. to report that two people were unconscious at an apartment complex located at 355 South Kiely Blvd., fire spokeswoman Capt. Mary Gutierrez said.
Firefighters arrived within four minutes and found both the man and child lying by the side of the pool. They were breathing but were unconscious and unresponsive, she said.
A 9-year-old boy was among 10 to 12 people who had been hanging out in the area, and he noticed two bodies floating in the pool's deep end. He dove in and pushed the little girl to the side of the pool while other residents helped pull her out. Meanwhile, a woman dove in and pushed the man to the side of the pool and had others help pull him out, Gutierrez said.
Bystanders administered compressions on both the man and the little girl until firefighters arrived.
They were transported to a hospital, where the man was still not responsive as of 3:30 p.m. The girl is recovering and was awake as of 2:30 p.m.
On Thursday, a man in his 40s nearly drowned with his 6-year-old daughter at a housing complex pool in the area of Bollinger Road and Miller Avenue, but a family friend pulled them out just in time and saved their lives.
Gutierrez said both events should serve as a lesson for residents to practice pool safety.
"If you or your child can't swim, consider (wearing) floating devices and staying in the shallow end," she advised.
San Ramon Woman Dies from Fall at Half Dome
A 26-year-old San Ramon woman died Sunday after she fell from the Half Dome cables at Yosemite National Park, according to park officials.
The park's emergency communications center received a 911 call at about noon reporting that a hiker had fallen from the cables, which allow hikers to reach the nearly 5,000-foot summit without the use of rock-climbing equipment.
National Park Rangers responded and found Hayley LaFlamme dead from the fall.
It appears that she had climbed to the top of Half Dome and was on her way down when she fell and landed about 600 feet below, according to the park service.
Park rangers are still investigating what caused her to fall but noted that there had been a severe thunderstorm for several hours that morning.
Wet weather can make for hazardous trail conditions, and the granite slopes along the cable route can become slick, according to the park service.
The last hiker to die on Half Dome was 40-year-old Manoj Kumar, also a San Ramon resident, who slipped and fell on June 13, 2009, during a rain and hail storm.
Rescuers Ask the Public for Help in Finding Lost Sea Lions
Marine mammal rescuers are asking for the public's help in spotting two sea lions that became entangled in ocean trash and eluded several attempts at capture.
The sea lions -- a juvenile weighing about 200 pounds, and an older animal weighing roughly 400 pounds -- were spotted on San Francisco's Pier 39 with strands of wire or plastic wrapped around their necks, Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald said.
The animals were last seen last Tuesday, and while they were in good condition at the time, would-be rescuers fear that being entangled in trash will prevent the animals from foraging, leaving them vulnerable to disease and predators.
The rescuers are also concerned that the strands will cut into their skin as they grow, he said.
Oswald said they are hoping to find the sea lions on a beach, which would make it easier to capture them.
Rescuers tried to reach the animals four times while they rested on the pier, but their attempts were unsuccessful.
"Once the animals are in the water, they're in their own element," he said.
Oswald said rescuers are ready to try again -- hopefully on solid ground this time -- if the sea lions reappear.
"It's a wait-and-see game at this point," he said.
The public is asked to report any injured sea lion sightings to the Marine Mammal Center's 24-hour tip line at (415) 289-7325.
CHP Officers Tie Purple Ribbons to Antennas in Honor of Purple Ribbon Month
Purple ribbons adorning the antennas of California Highway Patrol cars this month are a reminder of the dangers of leaving a child unattended in a car, CHP officials said.
The decorations are designed to draw attention to "Purple Ribbon Month," which started Monday. August was designated by the national non-profit organization 4 R Kids Sake to raise awareness and educate the public about the dangers of leaving a child alone in a car.
The campaign also serves to remember Kaitlyn, the daughter of 4 R Kids Sake co-founder Tammy Russell who died Aug. 15, 2000.
The 6-month-old girl was left alone in a car for about two hours in Riverside County by a babysitter, according to the CHP. Her body temperature had reached 107 degrees when she arrived at the hospital, where she died of hyperthermia, according to the non-profit organization.
Because of "Kaitlyn's Law," which was enacted by the state in 2001, anyone who leaves a child 6 years or younger inside a vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years old can be fined $100.
"It takes very little effort to take a child or loved one with you," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement. "It is not worth it to leave them in the car, even for a few moments."
Anyone who sees a child alone in a car is asked to immediately call 911.
Big-Rig Struck by Amtrak Train near Fairfield
A big-rig was stopped on the railroad tracks when it was struck by a Coast Starlight Amtrak train at a crossing near Fairfield Monday morning, the California Highway Patrol said Monday afternoon.
Mark Eugene Manley, 51, of Galt, was driving a 2006 Peterbilt truck with a trailer on westbound Cannon Road east of Vanden Road around 8:30 a.m., CHP Officer Tony Blencowe said.
Manley stopped his truck with the trailer blocking the tracks and did not realize the Amtrak train with 290 passengers was approaching until it was very close, Blencowe said.
The train operator, 34-year-old Jeremy Edson, of Oakland, sounded the horn before the crash, Blencowe said.
Manley then put the truck in gear and tried to drive forward but the southbound train struck the trailer, Blencowe said.
Neither Manley nor the train operator were injured.
None of the passengers were injured in the collision that closed two tracks and delayed Amtrak's Capitol Corridor trains between Auburn and San Jose.
Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said one of the two tracks opened at 10:30 a.m. and the other opened an hour later. No delays were expected Monday evening, she said.
The crash damaged one of the Coast Starlight's two locomotives and the train continued on to Los Angeles with one locomotive, Graham said.
Giants Pitcher Sergio Romo Attends Event Advocating Whooping Cough Booster Shots
San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo will be in attendance at an event this morning where local students can receive whooping cough booster shots.
Students will be able to go to the San Francisco Department of Public Health from 11 a.m. to noon to receive the Tdap vaccine and get a chance to meet Romo.
Students starting grades seven through 12 in the San Francisco Unified School District will be required to receive the Tdap vaccine before attending school, which begins August 15.
According to a SFUSD press release, 40 percent of Bay Area children between the ages of 10 and 18 are reported to have the vaccine, whereas only 22 percent of SFUSD students from seventh to 12th grades have the booster on file.
Along with Romo, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the director of the San Francisco Immunization Coalition, Andrew Resignato, will be in attendance.
The school district is hosting multiple events for parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated. There will be a free vaccination day on Saturday at the French American International School on Oak Street between Gough and Franklin streets from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Students may also get their vaccination at a local pharmacy.
Suspected Burglar Arrested in San Carlos
A suspected burglar was arrested outside a house in San Carlos Monday morning, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies went to the 1700 block of Eaton Avenue after a witness reported seeing three people sitting in a maroon Ford Thunderbird parked in a residential driveway, according to the sheriff's office.
When deputies arrived, 41-year-old Edward Millan, of San Bruno, was standing in the driveway. The two other suspects and the car were no longer in the area.
An inspection of the home found that the front door, a bedroom door, and a storage cabinet had all been pried open.
A pry bar was found inside the home, according to the sheriff's office, but it had not been determined what was stolen.
Millan was arrested in connection with the burglary.
One of the other men in the Ford was described as a Hispanic man around 40 years old with long hair in a ponytail. Investigators were not able to obtain a description of the third suspect.
Anyone with information is urged to contact San Mateo County Sheriff's Detective Victor Bertolozzi at (650) 363-4057 or the sheriff's anonymous tip line at (800) 547-2700.
Rape Suspect Arrested in Gilroy
A 32-year-old Hollister man was arrested on suspicion of attempting to rape a woman after offering her a ride home from a nightclub in Gilroy early Sunday morning, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.
A deputy was patrolling agricultural fields in the 600 block of state Highway 129 around 3:40 a.m. when he encountered a car parked on a darkened dirt road leading to a strawberry field, sheriff's officials said.
When he approached the occupants inside the vehicle, a female passenger appeared "hysterical" and told the deputy that the driver of the vehicle had just tried to rape her, according to the sheriff's office.
She explained that the man had offered her a ride from a nightclub in Gilroy and she had accepted, but that on the way to her home, he pulled over next to the strawberry field and attempted to sexually assault her, according to the sheriff's office.
He stopped when he saw the deputy's patrol vehicle.
The man was identified as Bruno Munguia. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of assault with the intent to commit rape.
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