Toddler Homicide Strikes Nerve in Oakland

Oakland mourns for 3-year-old killed in drive-by

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An image of Carlos Fernandez Nava who was killed in a drive by shooting in Oakland.

    A steady stream of mourners keep coming by a growing makeshift memorial with teddy bears, toys and candles along a busy street where a 3-year-old boy was killed in a drive-by shooting.
           
    Meanwhile, some people who witnessed the daytime attack have overcome their fear of retaliation and provided tips to authorities about the killing Monday of Carlos Nava, who was with his mother and riding in a stroller at a corner strip mall.

    In Oakland, which has seen more than its share of murders, the shooting has outraged citizens from all walks of life.
           
    "This struck a nerve. Maybe the loss of Carlos and his innocence will wake this city up," Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts said Thursday while announcing an arrest. "This needs to be a catalyst for the city to change."

    Suspected gang member Lawrence Denard appeared in court Friday but did not enter a plea after being charged with murder. The parolee with a previous grand theft conviction is due back in court on Aug. 29.
           
    Two men were also wounded in the incident.
           
    Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley has said the brazen shooting rocked law enforcement as well as the community.
           
    "Any life lost to violence is a tragedy, but when it is a child, all of our grief and all of our outrage is magnified," O'Malley said.
           
    Denard also has been charged with attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and enhancements alleging he fired a gun and caused great bodily injury. He could be sentenced to 100 years in prison if convicted.
           
    Batts also took a jab at Oakland city officials who have cut his police force over the past year due to budget shortfalls.

    He said the city usually averages about three shootings a day but has had just one since the boy's death, as officers worked nearly around the clock.
           
    He said Oakland would be safer if police had more resources.
           
    "Enough with not taking hard stances," Batts said. "Way too many lives have been lost."