OAKLAND, Calif. - As news spread about the tragic killing of Oakland Police Officer Tuan Le, many in the community responded with shock, sadness, and grief.
Officer Tuan Le was working as an undercover officer when he was shot and killed after a burglary in progress at a cannabis related business at 5th and Embarcadero near Jack London Square.
Born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1987, he came to the U.S. and at the age of 14, on the fateful day of 9/11, he became a naturalized American citizen.
At the age of 32, he graduated from Oakland Police’s 183rd academy in 2019.
For the last two years, he's served on the robbery detail, and on Friday morning, he was working as an undercover officer in an unmarked vehicle.
OPD released a statement saying, Le fostered relationships with those he served, leaving an impact on those he met.
Oakland native Keisha Henderson spoke fondly of the officer she had built a relationship with when she flagged him down one day a few years back.
"He treated everybody with a lot of respect," said Henderson, who introduced herself to Le when he was patrolling in her neighborhood in West Oakland, where he served as a community engagement officer.
"There was an issue at my home, and he looked out for my house." Henderson said. "He requested more frequent patrols for our neighborhood, even though resources were very slim at the time. "
Like many in the community, she was devastated to learn of his sudden death.
Henderson shared that she felt respected by Officer Le. "He pays attention to the details, he’s a great, communicative cop," she said. "He was just a very nice officer."
She expressed sorrow for the late officer’s wife and family. She said, "I can’t imagine that! I really want them to know that he was a great addition to our community."
Oakland city council member Dan Kalb was also solemn at the loss of a dedicated Oakland officer while on duty.
Officer Tuan Le is the 54th Oakland Police officer to die in the line of duty. End of watch 12/29/2023. A dozen long stemmed, white roses were placed at the memorial Friday. (Alice Wertz)
"He embodied the values of courage, justice and of service to the community," Kalb said. "Without any doubt whatsoever. All OPD officers strive for that, and he was a great example of exceeding and doing that.’’
"He knew how to work with people, work with the community, and he wasn’t afraid to do the job that it took to get it done," said Kalb.
Condolences posted on social media expressed his commitment to the community and his colleagues were remarkable.
Flags at Oakland police headquarters were lowered to half-staff Friday in dedication to the fallen officer.
Oakland Police Department flags at half-staff (Alice Wertz)
Many in the department, at City Hall and throughout the town mourn the loss of the 54th officer to die in the line of duty, in the department’s 183 years of service to the community.
Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com
Henry K. Lee contributed to this article.