An East Bay photojournalist who was killed in a shooting Friday night near his Oakland home was identified by police and former colleagues today as Lionel “Ray” Fluker, who had worked for more than a decade as a freelance photographer for the Oakland Tribune.
Fluker, 54, was shot at about 10:15 p.m. near Seminary Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. Oakland police Sgt. Arturo Bautista said Fluker was not the shooter’s intended target and appears to have been struck by a stray bullet. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Another man was also hit by the gunfire, and was critically injured, according to police. Nick Lammers, director of photography for the Bay Area News Group, which publishes the Oakland Tribune, remembered Fluker this morning as the “happiest, life-affirming man.” Lammers said Fluker, who started as a photography intern for the Tribune in 1995, “really enjoyed the thrill of photojournalism.”
Fluker was a graduate of Berkeley High School and was hired as a freelance photographer after his internship. During his time at the Tribune, Fluker photographed numerous music and entertainment events — including performances by the pop group TLC and the late actress and comedienne Phyllis Diller — and also covered sports and breaking news. Lammers said he will always remember a photo Fluker took in downtown Oakland during a fire when a parked BMW was blocking a fire hydrant. Fluker captured an image of fire crews pulling the hydrant through the broken windows of the car to get water onto the flames. In addition to photography, Fluker had an engineering career and was into bicycling and fitness, Lammers said.
A few months ago, Lammers said, Fluker was biking through his neighborhood and stopped by his Oakland home, and the two caught up for about half an hour. He said Fluker’s daughter, Dominique, had graduated from high school in the Bay Area and was off to Spellman College in Atlanta, Ga. Lammers said Fluker was a “very good father” who had often brought his daughter to the Tribune offices and would tell everyone about her soccer, softball or ballet achievements as a young girl. Robert Gammon, co-editor at the Oakland-based East Bay Express weekly newspaper, said Fluker worked as a freelance photographer for the paper from 2001 to 2007.
Online archives show photographs Fluker took of former Oakland mayor and now-Gov. Jerry Brown and shots of union-organized and community events in Emeryville, Oakland and Berkeley. To remember Fluker, a slideshow of his work was posted this weekend on the website. The photos can be viewed at http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_22969525/oakland-man-fatally-shot-another-injured-friday-night.
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