Oakland council president urges crackdown after 4 killed near Lake Merritt

It's happened yet again. Another homicide along the same cul-de-sac at the edge of Lake Merritt in Oakland.

By day, the stretch of Lakeshore Avenue is popular spot for joggers and dog walkers. By night, though, it's become a haven for mayhem and bloodshed.

"These senseless acts of violence of homicide will not be tolerated. We all deserve safe neighborhoods," said Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, who represents the Eastlake neighborhood where the homicides have occurred. 

The most recent killing happened at about 3 a.m. Sunday, when a man was stabbed to death on that block.

In April, Devon Stanford was assaulted, robbed and dragged by a car before he was shot. He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

On Christmas Eve, Ricky Bustos was shot and killed. Emmanuel Gardner-Craft, who was known for aggressively selling marijuana on the block, according to police, was arrested and charged with murder. 

And in November, Devani Michelle Aleman, the mother of a 5-year-old daughter, was shot and killed during a robbery attempt.

Two men, Lashawn Price and Torrin Dupclay, have been charged with murder.

In 2020, Oakland designated the cul-de-sac an overnight "no parking zone" and installed speed bumps. Fortunato Bas said police need to crack down on loiterers.

"It's the job of OPD to enforce the laws that are on the books," she said. "They can use a bullhorn to tell people to leave, the park is closed, and if people don't leave, then they can take action."

Proactive enforcement, she says, could save lives. 

"That can be ticketing, that can be towing, and that can help deter some of this very late-night activity that has unfortunately led to four people dying within the past few months," she said.

In a Facebook post, however, the Oakland police union said the council president's priorities were misguided and that she should take immediate action by demanding "no bail" for violent crime offenders and helping victims by ensuring the justice system holds suspects accountable.