Fourth Oakland Police Officer Dies

Vigil planned for Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger flew to Oakland Sunday directly from Washington, D.C. to meet with Mayor Ron Dellums and acting  Chief of Police Howard Jordan one day after four police officers were shot and killed.

    John Hege remains on life support, but was pronounced brain dead just before noon Sunday.  He was waiting to be an organ donor. 

    Four Officers Shot

    [BAY] Four Officers Shot
    Four officers were shot Saturday. (Published Saturday, Mar 21, 2009)

    The meeting with the governor will be private and he is not expected to make public comments. Schwarzenegger's spokesman says the governor will offer support and pay his respects.

    Also Sunday, a display of flowers is starting to grow at the Oakland police headquarters under a wall in tribute to police officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

    In all, five Oakland police officers were shot Saturday in two separate but related shootings.

    Four officers were killed.  A fifth officer suffered a minor gunshot wound.

    Grief Hits Oakland Police Department

    [BAY] Grief Hits Oakland Police Department
    A parolee with a no bail warrant shoots five Oakland police officers Saturday. Three are dead and one clings to life. Now a department has to find a way to go on. (Published Saturday, Mar 21, 2009)

    The Oakland City Council and Mayor Ron Dellums will hold a vigil Tuesday night in honor of the fallen officers.

    OPD Answer Questions on Deadly Shootings

    [BAY] OPD Answer Questions on Deadly Shootings
    A gunman killed three officers and gravely wounded another in two shootings Saturday, the first after a routine traffic stop and the second after a massive manhunt ended in gunfire. The suspect was also killed. (Published Saturday, Mar 21, 2009)

    Never in the history of any Bay Area police department have so many officers been killed on the same day.

    Chief Howard Jordan

    [BAY] Chief Howard Jordan
    Five police officers were shot, three dead, and one clings to life late Saturday. (Published Saturday, Mar 21, 2009)

    Oakland's acting Police Chief Howard Jordan, who has been on the job just a few weeks, made the grim announcement just after 9 p.m. Saturday.

    Jordan said, "This is not something I expected to do in my career at all."

    KNTV Report Feature Officer Mark Dunakin

    [BAY] KNTV Report Feature Officer Mark Dunakin
    Officer Mark Dunakin was featured in a report that aired on KNTV in May, 2002. (Published Saturday, Mar 21, 2009)

    Also in attendance was Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and state Attorney General Jerry Brown.

    Dellums said "It's in these moments that words are extraordinarily inadequate. We come together in shock, in grief, in sorrow."

    The four officers have been identified as 41-year-old John Hege, 40-year-old Mark Dunakin, 43-year-old Ervin Romansa and 35-year-old Daniel Sakai.

    Hege and Dunakin were traffic cops shot in the first incident.

    Romansa and Sakai were members of the SWAT team who were shot in a nearby apartment two hours later..

    The fifth unidentified officer who suffered a minor gunshot wound was hurt at the second crime scene.  He was treated and released Saturday.

    Police said the suspect, Lovell Mixon, 27, from Oakland, was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon.  He had no-bail warrant for his arrest for violating parole. The Oakland Tribune reported Mixon had prior convictions in Alameda County for grand theft and possession of marijuana.

    Police said Mixon wielded two different weapons. One gun was used at the first scene and an assault rifle was used at the apartment building where he was hiding.

    Mixon's family spoke to NBC Bay Area Sunday.  They said they were sorry for the families of the officers and added that there family was hurt as well.  Mixon's sister said he brother was not a monster, adding that she thought he was probably scared.

    "This is probably one of the worst incidents that has ever taken place in this history of the Oakland police department," Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.

    The violence started with a traffic stop just two blocks from the Eastmont sub-station.  You can actually see the crime scene from the substation parking lot.

    The tragedy began when two motorcycle patrol officers pulled a driver over for a routine traffic stop in the 7600 block of MacArthur Boulevard just after 1 p.m.

    Witnesses say the driver got out of his car and shot both officers before running away.

    Another witness, who did not want be identified, told the Tribune he heard gun fire and then saw the officers laying on road.

    The man told the reporter: "I went over to one officer and saw he was bleeding from his helmet pretty bad. The other officer was laying motionless."

    The man said the officer laying near a car had two gun shot bullets near in his face. One bullet was lodged in his jaw and the other in his neck. The man said he gave the officer CPR until other police arrived.

    A huge police presence immediately swarmed the scene.

    Shortly after the first shooting, police said they learned the suspect was barricaded in a nearby apartment  building.  It was learned Sunday that the suspect's sister lived in the building.

    Just after 3 p.m., at 73rd and Hillside SWAT teams entered the building in search of the man.  A shoot-out followed with three additional Oakland SWAT officers being hit by gunfire.  Two of those men died.

    The suspect was also shot and killed.

    All of the injured officers were taken to Highland Hospital. 

    A crowd gathered outside the hospital emergency room, including dozens of officers in uniform waiting for word on the condition of their fellow officers. Many were crying and hugging each other as they waited for word.

    Back at the original crime scene people taunted police near the scene of the first shooting.

    Tensions between the community and members of the police department has been high since the New Year's Day shooting of an unarmed man by a BART police officer.   A protest following that deadly shooting lead to a violent and fiery protest in the streets of Oakland.

    The former BART officer, Johannes Mehserle, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.

    The last Oakland officer who was killed in 2004, William Seuis, 39, died in a hit-and-run crash.

    The last time Oakland lost two officers in one day was in 1974 when Gabe Guider and Wendell Troyer died in a helicopter crash.

    A group of Oakland ministers also went to the hospital to offer prayers and condolences to the family members of the injured officers and the dozens of Oakland police officers who gathered there.

    They used their pulpit on Sunday to urge their parishioners not to let the event tear the city apart.

    Pastor Raymond Lankford, executive director of Healthy Oakland, urged people to show support for the officers and their families.

    "What officers do, that's a tough job," Lankford said. "They need love, they need support. They need to know the community is behind them."

    Attorney General Jerry Brown, who served as Oakland's mayor for eight years, said his office would support the officers any way it could.

    "It's a city that does have its challenges with crime and violence, but the city will overcome this," he said. "It's been making tremendous strides, but there are thousands of criminals wandering around."

    Brown said the state's parole system is in dire need of reform, including issuing GPS tracking bracelets to parolees.

    Brown said he planned to step up his pursuit of these reforms as a result of the shootings.

    Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner said the tragic events are a reminder of the dangers police officers voluntarily face in their efforts to protect the community.

    "Our hearts go out to the officers' families and the pain they are in right now," she said. "This is a time for us to come together and support our police officers."

    Brunner said acting Chief of Police Howard Jordan is meeting with the officers' families today. She praised Jordan's leadership throughout the deadliest events in the department's 157-year history.

    The vigil Tuesday will be held at 6 p.m. at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard where the first shooting took place, Brunner said.

    In addition, a condolence book will be available in the main lobby at City Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday for members of the community to write their thoughts and pay their respects, according to Brunner.