Oakland mayor holds town hall as city struggles with shootings

People in Oakland are expressing hurt and frustration after more violent crime on city streets.

As communities continue to deal with deadly shootings, Mayor Libby Schaaf addressed constituents Tuesday night on issues that include blight and homelessness.

"I know that these have been some really hard years for Oakland," said Schaaf, addressing the audience at an outdoor town hall in East Oakland. 

Prior to the start of the meeting, KTVU asked the mayor what the city is doing to prevent gun violence.

Schaaf said Oakland recently received a $6 million grant from the state that will be spent on prevention strategies directed towards offenders and their families.  

"People are on edge.  We've got to retrain people how to resolve conflict without violence," said Schaaf.

This meeting came after a weekend that saw two downtown shootings early Saturday morning.

Police said a 35-year-old man was shot in the area of 17th and Broadway.

He died at the hospital.

Police have not said if he was targeted or what the motive was.

Friends and neighbors have identified him as Joshua Barnes, a well-loved member of the community.

"You feel bad.  He's my friend, long time,"said Riccardo Vindiola, a business owner who's also a neighbor of the victim.  

Vindiola shared a photo of himself and Barnes.

He said he would see Barnes in the mornings, always ready to help his neighbors.

"He would clean the streets every day, taking care of kids. He's a good guy," said Vindiola.  

City council member Noel Gallo said Barnes volunteered for Gallo's weekend neighborhood cleanups.

"He was very humble, very giving back to the community," Gallo said. 

Gallo said he's grateful for what Barnes did for others and described him as "very fun to work with.  I will personally miss his contribution, helping us in the neighborhood that needs a lot of work."  

Back at the town hall, community contributions and involvement were highlighted as solutions to some of Oakland's problems.

Stanley Hunter, a resident of East Oakland, said he'd like to see police officers interact more  with people in various neighborhoods,"They knew our parents.  We don't get that anymore. I truly believe that would make a difference if that would happen. "

Schaaf plans to hold two more town halls.

One is scheduled for Wednesday at Colby Park in North Oakland.

On Thursday, Schaaf plans to be at San Antonio Park near Lake Merritt.  

All the town halls are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. 

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