OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Thursday marked the anniversary of the deadliest day for law enforcement in Oakland.
Ten years ago, four Oakland police officers were shot and killed by the same suspect, all following a routine traffic stop. Although there’s been healing, there are still deep wounds.
There was a somber scene inside Saint Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in East Oakland as the annual moment to pause and remember the loss of four officers marks its 10th year.
Inside, “Amazing Grace” was sung as a little over 100 Oakland police officers and victim’s families sat in the pews for an hour-long service. Ten years ago, officer John Hege, and sergeants Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans, and Daniel Sakai all lost their lives.
“Our fallen heroes are never forgotten…we honor and respect them,” said Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.
The tragic events started when Dunakin and Hege performed a traffic stop of felon Lovelle Mixon in East Oakland. Mixon shot and killed both men with a semi-automatic hand gun, then ran to his sister’s apartment and started a stand-off with responding officers. Two SWAT officers – Romans and Sakai – where killed, before other SWAT members returned fire, killing Mixon.
“It was just a stunning day. You can’t comprehend this type of loss all in one day. the whole city froze that you could have such a loss of life,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who at the time of the crime worked as an analyst for the city council.
Officers from various departments arrived early to pay their respects. Police officials say despite the showing today, no shifts or patrols were left uncovered. For this year’s memorial, the names of all Oakland officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty were included in the program. City officials say it’s a reminder of both the danger of the job, and the bravery of those who serve.