OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Mike Scott is hoping there will be no return fire for the triple homicide in West Oakland, where the fear of violence is so strong that it prompted neighbors to put up large signs that read, “Please don’t shoot. Kids live here. Stop the violence.”
Scott, 53, has a unique perspective on the deadly evening, when three men were shot to death Friday at Center and 11th streets: He was among the first people to be called to the scene as a paramedic with the Oakland Fire Department.
“Everyone in that neighborhood knows what happened and someone will retaliate,” Scott said on Monday. “I’m asking that they stop the violence.”
Scott has worked for the fire department for two decades and said he is so disappointed that people kill each other over seeming nonsense, when they could just put the guns down and find another solution.
Just before 9 p.m., Scott took the call from dispatch, where the operator told him three people were shot and one wasn’t breathing. He called for a second paramedic truck and left Station 3 in a flash. When he got there, multiple police officers were already on scene. Someone was tending to one of the men on the ground, Scott said. So he and his colleagues went over to a car nearby where he found the other two young men.
“Both guys were shot in the face,” Scott said. “And one of the guys had holes in his chest and shoulder.”
Police have not released many details in the case, only that the victims were men, ages 29 and 31, from Oakland, and a 21-year-old Vallejo man. On Sunday, a small memorial was created for the three men where they were killed. Religious candles and flowers dotted the sidewalk. Pierre Hudson, who stopped by the memorial, identified the 31-year-old victim as Donte Johnson, a father who was in a pre-apprentice program for construction and "the last closet friend I had in Oakland."
A man in the neighborhood told KTVU that he saw a small, silver, four-door car pull away from the scene and then reappear, as if the people inside were checking to see if anyone was left alive.
The man also said an older gentleman who lives in the neighborhood put up the big, black-and-white "don't shoot" sign, taping it onto the iron gate in front of the four-plex.
Yolanda Mesa, who also happens to be the sister-in-law of Oscar Grant who was killed by BART police 10 years ago, said she was leaving the Steph Curry party at the Fox Theater a bit early, when she got off the bus with her 11-year-old son to find a mass of police cars and fire trucks in her neighborhood. She lives two blocks from the scene. "The whole street was shut down," she said.
Her son is now too frightened to walk to the corner store. "It's pretty scary living in this neighborhood," she said. "I think every set of parents feels the same way. But there is no other store around."
Scott, the paramedic, connected with Mesa on Facebook and offered to meet her son and escort him to the store. Mesa readily agreed.
On Monday, the Alameda County Coroner still would not identify the three men, and would not release the names of two additional homicide victims, including a 22-year-old man and a 38-year-old man, who were also killed during the first week of this year, bringing the total so far to five. The coroner's office said there was a police hold on the names.
The deadly beginning to 2019 comes just a day or two after city officials touted a record low murder rate for last year.
In an interview with KTVU Monday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf that it’s crucial to create “conditions where people do not feel they need to resort to violence.” She met with the police chief right after she was sworn in at City Hall for an “all-hands conference” to get an update on the case.
“What a tragedy,” she said of the deaths.
Scott knows there is deep fear in the neighborhood. He was called back after the triple homicide to treat a woman who fainted after witnessing the killings. He implored people to treat “everyone like they were your Grandma.” If people do that, he said, the world, including West Oakland, will be a better place.
“After 20 years of doing this,” Scott said. “I’m tired of seeing this.”
Henry Lee contributed to this report.