'Put down your guns': Pastor pleads for peace following Oakland's 1st homicide of 2022

A 28-year-old Oakland man was shot and killed on the first day of 2022.

The homicide was reported Saturday outside a liquor store on 34th and Hollis Streets.

The death is upsetting for many, including anti-violence groups.

"Put down your guns," Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Jim Hopkins said on Sunday. 

Hopkins is involved in the city’s Ceasefire program, described as a " data-driven violence-reduction strategy' coordinating law enforcement, social services and the community. 

The major goal of the group is to reduce gang homicides and shooting by offering counseling, jobs, one-on-one meetings and multi-agency law enforcement action. 

"The first reaction has to be one of grief and lament," he said. "And certainly a foreboding for, here we go again, after 134 homicides last year." 

The city of Oakland marked 134 homicides in 2021, with another five people killed on freeways that run through the city.

There was a 21 percent increase in shootings.

Hopkins hopes there’s still a better and safer year ahead. 

He said people need more access to resources like job training, educational opportunities, and support for families.

"I've got to fall back on what’s worked before. There’s evidence when the Ceasefire philosophy works, is implemented is trusted, the number of homicides goes down significantly," said Hopkins.

The Oakland Police Department has said the pandemic impacted the Ceasefire strategy because restrictions made it difficult to do the outreach needed.

Police have not released a name of the homicide victim or a motive for the shooting.