Oakland police: Vehicle pulled from Lake Merritt related to domestic incident

- Oakland police pulled a vehicle out of Lake Merritt on Monday afternoon they believe is connected to a domestic incident that occurred earlier this month and resulted in the deaths of a man and woman. 

The 1994 Chevrolet Suburban was pulled from the water around 1:30 p.m. Sky Fox gave a view of the area which showed divers in the water.

Crews responded to the domestic incident on March 15 after reports of a man and woman fighting in the area. Firefighters and rescue teams were called out to the lake around 4:30 a.m., following several 911 calls reporting the verbal argument near Hanover and Lakeshore avenues. 

Police had identified the victims in that incident as Michael Grace, 39, and Tayana Johnson, 24 both residents of Oakland. Police say the two were dating. Johnson’s death being investigated as a homicide while Grace's death is being investigated as accidental. Investigators believe that Grace and Johnson were involved in a physical altercation. Johnson exhibited signs of physical injuries.

Grace had been pulled out of the lake earlier, and was unresponsive when crews took him to the hospital, firefighters said. Crews had found him "thrashing" in the water before paramedics performed CPR on him. Just before 8 a.m., police declared him dead, too.

What led up to the fight and why the pair ended up in the lake wasn't immediately clear. 

Police said Grace owned the Suburban that was pulled from the water.

The vehicle was first spotted by an Alameda County sheriff's drone. The device was first flown the day the bodies were found. Sheriff's officials reviewed the video and saw an "anomaly" in the water, said Sgt. Ray Kelly. The drone team returned to the lake Monday, and a sergeant saw the silhouette of the Suburban in the water, Kelly said. 

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