Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb and police officials will hold a community meeting on Monday night to discuss community members’ concerns about two recent homicides and other serious crimes in the area near Children’s Hospital Oakland. Kalb said he arranged the meeting because “people are understandably frustrated and in some cases fearful.” Kalb said, “Every resident has a right to feel safe in their home” but at this point “a lot of people in Oakland don’t feel safe.” In an incident at about 8:40 p.m. last Wednesday, 21-year-old Donitra Henderson was fatally shot near the corner of 54th Street and Shattuck Avenue.
Her 4-year-old son was with her and witnessed the shooting, according to Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, who came to the scene to try to comfort the boy. At about 9:30 p.m. last Friday, two nights later, a 19-year-old man was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting in the 700 block of 53rd Street, about a block from where Henderson was shot and killed. “In the recent weeks and months things have gotten out of hand and people rightfully want to talk to the police and ask what they’re doing about it,” Kalb said. Kalb, who represents much of North Oakland, said the meeting won’t just focus on the area near Children’s Hospital and will also include other parts of North Oakland along or west of Shattuck Avenue.
“There have been serious crimes in other parts of North Oakland as well,” Kalb said. He said those crimes have included shootings and home invasion robberies. Yasmin Anwar, who lives with her husband and 8-year-old son a few blocks from Children’s Hospital, said the neighborhood is “an up and coming area” but residents are shaken up by the recent surge in crime. “We’re very tense about what will happen,” Anwar said. She said that in addition to the two recent homicides, a resident of 66th Street near Shattuck reported that three masked men armed with guns kicked in her front door at midnight about 10 days ago and stole electronics.
Anwar said there have been many property crimes and suspects recently kicked in the back door of her house during the middle of the day when no one was home but didn’t take anything, apparently because they were frightened by a loud alarm at her house. North Oakland isn’t the only part of the city affected by gun violence, as Oakland police say the city’s highest homicide rates are in East Oakland and West Oakland.
East Oakland residents who said they’re fed up with the barrage of violence in their community held what they called “a demonstration for peace” in front of the Youth Uprising community center at 8711 MacArthur Blvd. on Tuesday afternoon. They said the event was the first in a series of actions to be led by Youth Uprising in partnership with neighboring community and faith-based organizations. The community meeting organized by Kalb will be held at the North Oakland Senior Center at 5714 Martin Luther King Jr. Way from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday. Kalb said a deputy police chief, a captain in charge of the area where the recent shootings occurred and a neighborhood services officer will participate.
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