California AG tackles gun violence as Oakland surpasses 100 homicides

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and other prosecutors convened Tuesday in Oakland - a city that just reached its 101th homicide - to discuss how to reduce the number of murders.

"We all know what's happening in our nation right now and we all know that it's unacceptable," he said. "Bullets fired indiscriminately, lives taken in mass on a daily basis. The pain feels, of course, particularly acute in recent days. What once felt like a flood has turned into an ocean of gun violence. Pain and heartbreak for survivors and for their families." 

Bonta recently formed an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, meant to share ideas on how to lower the number of deadly shootings. He said it's unique in the nation because it complements the Bureau of Firearms. 

Oakland has been plagued by gunfire.

Last week, gunmen enter the King Estate campus and wounded six people in what police described as a gang-related fight. 

On Saturday, two Berkeley High brothers – 15-year-old Angel and 17-year-old Jazy Sotelo Garcia -- were gunned down at an Oakland party. 

"Their future ripped away from them, their family inflicted with a wound so deep it will never fully heal," Bonta said. 

On Monday, Louis Truehill, 60, was killed – the city's 100th victim of homicide in 2022. 

His nephew, Kentrell Killens, who works for Oakland's Department of Violence Prevention, said Truehill was his uncle.

"I'm trying to muster up the strength to comfort his children who are finding out today that their father has been murdered," he said. "So it's very difficult to try and hold it together and yet you're hurting yourself."

And hours before Bonta was set to speak, Oakland police that a man had been killed as they were responding to a catalytic converter theft.

All this tragedy, Bonta said, means Californians need to do something. 

"We get to work. We roll up our sleeves, we put our heads down and do the work," he said. 

He said the state Department of Justice has been taking legal action against firearm traffickers and ghost gun manufacturers, as well as retailers. 

He said already, his office has taken over 20,000 guns out of "dangerous  hands."

Bonta added that he's sponsoring legislation promoting red flag laws, which allows authorities to confiscate guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. 

Despite this tool, Bonta said that not enough counties are making use of them, and he gave San Diego a particular shout out. 

In California, only 1,384 restraining orders were issued in 2021, and data shows that 32 percent of those were issued in San Diego, which represents just 8% of the state's population.

"There are 57 other counties that can do what San Diego is doing," he said. "Stop gun violence before it happens, prevent it from happening with an evidence based approach in red flag law. So we need to replicate these results across the state."