Residents voice concerns with spike in homicides in Hayward

Residents in Hayward voiced concerns Wednesday after the city has had three homicides in 35 days. The city had five homicides all of last year. The latest homicide was a stabbing on Tuesday night. Neighbors said a mother of two died following a domestic dispute.

Hayward Police Chief Toney Chaplain called it anomalous spike. He said most of the homicides, the victims and suspects knew each other and they were not random attacks.

Hayward resident Joyce Elliot is shaken over what transpired at a home on Willimet Way in Hayward. Elliot’s neighbor and fellow school parent was stabbed to death just after 5 p.m. in what police told Elliot was domestic violence.

“We’ve known them for years,” said Elliot. “We wave every morning on our way to school because they are usually going to school too.”

Elliot described them as a happy, close-knit family and suspected nothing.

“This doesn't happen here,” said Elliot. “I think that’s what's the most shocking part.”

The stabbing is the latest in a string of violent crime. Last month, a 19-year-old man from Oakland was shot to death while at a party at an Airbnb rental on Osage Avenue.

Less than 24 hours after that, another man was shot and killed on Alice Street. Police have not announced any arrests.

“One is too much, three is not acceptable,” said Hayward resident Shapour Mirzai.

Hayward resident Shapour Mirzai called it unsettling. He is moving to Oregon. Crime is one of the reasons for the move.

“There’s not enough police to protect people,” said Mirzai.

Hayward resident Kirsten Woolenweber said she’s more cautious.

“I’m not going to go on walks late at night like I use to do,” said Woolenweber.

“The worry I would have is if they are gang-related, that would be a problem, that would be a concern,” said Hayward City Councilmember Francisco Zermeno.

Zermeno echoed the Hayward Police Chief in saying none of the crimes appear to be related. Zermeno called the shooting at the AirBnb a new crime for the city. He said the spike is uncharacteristic for Hayward.

“Police are out there,” said Zermeno. “We have nine beats and close to 200 police officers. They are out there looking. If they see anything unusual, they are right on top of it.”

The police chief said the department plans to make an announcement on the stabbing case on Thursday.