(OAKLAND, CALIF.) — The city of Oakland, California, recorded its 100th homicide of the year on Monday, marking the second consecutive year of triple-digit homicides.
It’s a somber milestone for the city, which recorded 10 homicides in just the past week, police said. In 2020, there were 109 homicides, police data shows.
At a press conference on Monday, a 100-second moment of silence was held to honor the victims, and Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong pleaded with the public to “put down guns.”
“So much violence. So many guns. So many senseless lives lost. If this is not a calling to everybody in this community that there is a crisis, I don’t know what is,” Armstrong said. “I say this every time we have a press conference. I’m tired of appearing before you. We’ve got to do the work. I’ll be out in the community meeting with people, but I need people to step up and grab your loved ones and tell them, ‘Put the guns down.'”
He said that the department is partnering with the city’s faith-based organizations to reallocate officers to areas seeing the most violence.
“We’ve been successful arresting those that have committed homicides in our city,” Armstrong said. “But that is not the outcome we are looking for. We would much rather people put down guns and not cause this violence in our community.”
He noted that the OPD currently has 695 officers amid a “severe staffing shortage.”
“This is the smallest the department has been in nearly 10 years, and its also the highest level of violence we’ve seen in nearly 10 years,” he said.
The 100th homicide of the year occurred Monday morning near the Oakland Coliseum BART station on San Leandro Street, Armstrong said. This time last year, the city had reported 70 homicides.
During the briefing, officials shared details of the gun violence that’s ripped through the community recently. On Sept. 13, there was a shooting near Burbank Preschool that killed two people, in the presence of children, ABC Oakland station KGO reported.
Over the weekend, Armstrong added, Oakland police investigated three separate gun-related homicides over the span of just 13 hours.
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