Increased police presence in East Oakland after 73-year-old woman killed on her way to work

A 73-year-old woman is being remembered after a hit-and-run driver killed her as she walked to work in East Oakland.

KTVU has learned  this incident and others  have prompted police to position more officers in the area. One business owner said crime is out of control, that violence has escalated and the disregard for human life blatant. 

The family of Emelia Martinez Roa of Oakland shared photos of her and said they're devastated by the loss. She had just celebrated her birthday the day before she was killed. 

Surveillance video showed her walking along International Avenue at 16th Avenue on Tuesday, May 31 around 5:30 p.m.  A white Hummer hit her and kept going. 

According to Roa's son, she was on her way to work, to clean the church that she attends. She was just steps from her destination.  

"You work all your life and it takes five minutes for them to take it away," said Bruce Vuong, owner of Quality Tech, an auto repair shop near the crash scene. 

The crash was captured by Vuong's surveillance cameras. Vuong said he's been robbed at gunpoint and there are frequently dangerous incidents in the area.

"Last 12 months, it's the worst I've ever seen.  The worst: the sideshows, the home invasions, the assaults on Asians."   

On the surveillance video, a police vehicle was at the scene of the hit-and-run crash. 

Vuong questioned why the officer made a U-turn but does not go after the suspect vehicle when bystanders came to the aid of the victim. She later died at the hospital.  

On Monday, a KTVU crew saw a police officer posted in the area and frequent patrols. 
A law enforcement source said the increased police presence is in response to the violence in the area. 

"I'm getting weekly calls from people being injured , assaulted and so forth," said city council member Noel Gallo who said he met with the police chief to ask for the return of motorcycle officers to patrol the area. 

Gallo said the hit-and-run is not an isolated incident. 

"The reality is that a good number of our people don't have driver's license. They'll hit you and run away with their car, or they'll smash your car, get out of their car, leave and run," said Gallo.

The family of the hit-and-run victim described her as a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. 

Vuong says his auto repair shop has been in the area since 1986, for 36 years. He said he's considering leaving Oakland, "I stick around to see what happens. Unless we change city officials, unless we do something differently, it's not going to stop."

A police department spokesperson says the officer who was at the scene of the hit-and-run gave assistance to the victim and that so far, there have been no arrests.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @