The suspects in a series of violent incidents Thursday that culminated in an officer-involved shooting at an Oakland apartment complex showed “complete disregard for the safety of the public,” Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Israel said today.
Israel said 18-year-old Kenneth Ross of Oakland was shot and killed by officers after he pointed a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun at them in the parking garage of an apartment complex at 2701 64th Avenue, between Bancroft Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, about 5:45 p.m. Thursday. A second suspect, 19-year-old Jaron Castle of Vallejo, who also was carrying a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, sustained minor injuries in the shooting but has been treated and released and is now in custody, Israel said. He said Ross has prior convictions for armed robbery, auto theft and pointing a gun at people and Castle, whom he said has “significant ties to Oakland,” has prior convictions for drug-related offenses and resisting arrest.
Israel said the violent incidents may be gang-related because police think Ross and Castle are connected to the 211 gang that’s believed to be responsible for a series of recent armed robberies in Oakland, Modesto and Merced. He said 211 refers to the California Penal Code section for armed robbery. According to Israel, the violence began at 4:56 p.m. Thursday when
a group of five or six men, including Ross and Castle, who were in a maroon van shot at another group of people in a blue sedan with 24-inch chrome rims in the 1700 block of 33rd Avenue. Israel said “one of the most disturbing things” is that the shots were fired in the direction of a nearby Walgreens store on Fruitvale Avenue, which was crowded with people. Several bullets were found in a door at Walgreens but no one was injured. A short time later at 5:09 p.m. the same maroon van collided with a car on Interstate Highway 580 near the Edwards Avenue exit, Israel said. Three or four of the van’s occupants ran off, leaving the driver trapped inside, he said. The blue car that had been the target of the shooting in the first incident then pulled up, dragged the driver out of the maroon van, pistol-whipped him and shot him in the leg, according to Israel.
The occupants of the blue car then drove off and the driver of the maroon van was taken to a local hospital by a good Samaritan, Israel said. He’s in stable condition and is expected to be released into police custody. Three of the people who had fled from the maroon van eventually returned to the accident scene and the van drove off and went to the apartment complex at 2701 64th Ave., Israel said. Oakland police officers went to the apartment complex because they received information that the suspects were there, according to Israel. Three suspects fled from the garage but Ross and Castle had “a
chance encounter” with officers in a stairwell on the west side of the garage, Israel said. He said an officer at the top of the stairwell fired at Ross when Ross was only eight feet away and was pointing his gun at the officer. Ross and Castle then went back down the stairs, where they were confronted by another officer who also fired at them, Israel said. Ross died at the scene.The officers who shot at Ross and Castle weren’t hurt and have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting, he said. In addition to recovering the semiautomatic handguns allegedly carried by Ross and Castle, police recovered a shotgun and an assault rifle in the maroon van, according to Israel. In the process of investigating the shooting, police also arrested 23-year-old Rickie Lee Ganter of Oakland for being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.
Israel said police don’t believe that Ganter was involved in any of the incidents Thursday, but he was carrying a gun at the apartment complex. He said the complex is known as a hotbed of criminal activity and a man was murdered in front of the complex on July 9.Israel said a number of suspects are still outstanding and police want to talk to the three other occupants of the maroon van as well as to the occupants of the blue sedan. “It’s rare that we see this kind of continuing event across half
the city,” Israel said. He said that in addition to not seeming to care about injuring innocent bystanders, the suspects also seemed not to care that their actions were observed by a large number of witnesses.
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