General Crime

Raquel Gerstel and 2nd Teenage Girl Shot and Killed in Oakland

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So many bullets were fired in a shooting that claimed the lives of two teenage girls in East Oakland early last Sunday that it was tough to count them all, a woman who lives nearby and heard the shooting said today. Jayne Nayman, who lives at the intersection of Brookdale and Minna avenues, across the street from the shooting, said that at about 5:15 a.m. Sunday, “All of a sudden I heard a flurry of shots and they were so rapid-fire that I lost count.” Nayman said she told Oakland police that she heard more than 20 shots but police later told residents that they found 36 shell casings.

“There had to be at least two shooters,” Nayman said. She said she was awake at the time because she works the overnight shift as a nurse and normally is up at that hour. Oakland police have not identified the names of the two girls but a San Lorenzo Unified School District spokeswoman said one of them was 15-year-old Raquel Gerstel, a freshman at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo. Nayman said she’s been told that the other victim was 16-year-old Bobbie Sartain and that she lived on High Street in Oakland, a few blocks away from the scene of the shooting. Nayman said she’s also been told that Gerstel lived in San Leandro and that Gerstel and Sartain were best friends and had originally met when they both lived in Alameda. Nayman said her son, Jeb Hamilton, who lives with her, went outside after the shooting and held Sartain’s hand, as did another neighbor, Monique Jefferson.

Her son told her that Sartain tried to speak but was unable to do so because a bullet had gone through her mouth and the only sound that came out was a moan, Nayman said. She said her son and other neighbors first found Sartain lying on the south side of Minna Avenue and later found Gerstel across the street on the north side. Nayman said her son, who was crying, told her not to go over to the location where Sartain was lying because she had been shot in the face.

She said both girls were taken by ambulance to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Nayman said the shooter or shooters apparently were calm and businesslike because she didn’t near any squealing tires or loud engines afterward, indicating that they left the scene at a normal driving speed.

She said the shooting was “inexcusable and deplorable,” asking, “What could possess someone to do that?” She said the neighborhood is “relatively quiet” and she feels safe walking around it but now “I feel like our neighborhood has been violated.” Family members and friends of the two girls have placed memorials consisting of flowers, candles and teddy bears at both locations.

Sharon Lampel, assistant superintendent for human resources at the San Lorenzo Unified School District, said a crisis intervention team consisting of psychologists and counselors has been at Arroyo High School this week, providing support for students who are in grief over Gerstel’s death. Although Sartain reportedly lived in Oakland, Troy Flint, spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, said she wasn’t enrolled in school in Oakland.

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