Homeless man latest Oakland homicide victim as leaders react to recent violence

The death of a homeless man Wednesday outside a vacant business in Oakland's Chinatown is being investigated as the city's latest homicide, as city, police and community leaders reacted to recent violence.

The victim was found dead from blunt force trauma in the doorway of a storefront near 10th and Harrison streets at about 7:30 a.m.

Susan Su works across the street and believes the victim is the same man she's looked after whenever it got cold.

"I saw him over there, and so I have to bring him some blankets and jackets for him," Su said.

Oakland homicide investigators Greg Rosin and Roland Aguilar canvassed the neighborhood for witnesses and surveillance footage.

"It's very sad and depressing for Oakland and the Chinatown community in general," said David Woo of the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, which owns the building where the man was killed. The church was hit by an arson fire early Friday morning.

"The crime, the homelessness, the graffiti, it seems like it's constant," Woo said.

Crime scenes have indeed been a constant across the city.

A woman and her 13-year-old daughter were shot dead in East Oakland. 

A 15-month-old girl was shot in the stomach while riding in her family's car in the Eastlake neighborhood.

A victim was killed and a second hurt at 7th Street and Mandela Parkway in West Oakland.

"The challenging component of this, right, is that there is no rhyme or reason for a lot of the cases," said Roland Holmgren, an Oakland deputy police chief.

"Back when I first started it would be, you'd get an award if you recovered a firearm in a shift. You might even get a little bit of time off. Now, it's almost expected if you go out to a shift, for you to recover a firearm," Holmgren said.

"We have to find ways to prevent crimes in the first place, and it's not comforting for anyone, especially families," said Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber Foundation.

In a statement, Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas said in part, "The level of violence impacting our babies and families is not acceptable. I am committed to working with all of you to make our community safer."

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao also released a statement saying she planned to improve coordination in both city agencies and regional law enforcement to help tackle crime. 

"As a mother I grieve every loss of life, and cannot imagine getting a call that my child will never come home. And as mayor, I am committed to working with community partners and across agencies to ensure we are doing everything we can so that no parent gets that call. This work will require a sustained, multi-pronged approach," Thao said.


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