The city of Oakland has just set a record, but not one that begs to be emulated. This past Saturday, it suffered the highest single day death toll in its 156 year history when it claimed the life of 3 police officers and another on life support (as of this writing).
The calamity’s lightning rod is Lovelle Mixon, a 26-year-old parolee wanted on a no-bail warrant for violating his parole. At 1 p.m., Mixon’s 1995 Buick sedan was pulled over by two motorcycle officers, Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and Officer John Hege, 41. According to a spokesperson, Mixon immediately opened fire, killing Dunakin and gravely wounding Hege. The shooter exited the vehicle and fled on foot. A vigorous SWAT team manhunt ensued, culminating in a gun battle at a nearby apartment building where Sgt. Sgts. Ervin Romans, 43, and Daniel Sakai, 35, were killed and a third officer was grazed by a bullet. Mixon died in the melee.
Acting police chief Howard Jordan stated Mixon had “an extensive history of violence” manifested by a previous incarceration in a state penitentiary for a San Francisco armed assault. On a side note, someone from his childhood actually married him during his sentence in Corcoran state prison… After his release last year, he was put behind bars for a parole violation.
Authorities are wondering whether the anonymous tip leading to the SWAT team’s slaying was a trap.
The shooting also threatened to add another uncomfortable chapter to the already strained relationship between Oakland’s black community and law enforcement, amplified this past New Year’s Day by the shooting of a young, unarmed black man by a white transit officer at a train stop. In Saturday’s case, the officers were white while Mixon was black.
Meanwhile, bouquets of flowers and questions about a possible motive continue to accumulate outside the Oakland Police Department.
Our hearts go out to all who were affected. We will continue to update you on any breaking events in this grisly tale.