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16 hospitalized and one arrested after shooting at Juneteenth celebration

16 hospitalized and one arrested after shooting at Juneteenth celebration
Sixteen people ended up in the hospital after a shooting at a Juneteenth celebration near Oakland's Lake Merritt on Wednesday night, Oakland Police Chief Floyd Mitchell said.

By Katy St. Clair. Bay City News.

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Sixteen people ended up in the hospital after an outbreak of violence at a Juneteenth celebration near Oakland's Lake Merritt on Wednesday night, Oakland Police Chief Floyd Mitchell said.  

At least 15 people were shot, one suffered a non-gunshot-related injury and some officers were assaulted after a show erupted into fights and then gunshots in the 400 block of Grand Avenue, Mitchell said at a news conference Thursday.

Police made one arrest for assault on an officer, but no arrests have yet been made in any of the shootings or other acts of violence.  

At approximately 8:15 p.m., about 20 vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, began an illegal show, Mitchell said. During the show, someone crossed the hood of a vehicle, causing several people to get out of the car and “violently attack” the person. This then led to multiple fights breaking out along Grand Avenue between Euclid and Bellevue avenues.  

“Unfortunately, these fights escalated to several people firing guns, and over 50 shell casings were recovered,” Mitchell said.  

When officers arrived and began rendering aid to the injured, Mitchell said people in the crowd began attacking the officers. Deputy Chief James Beere said the officers were punched in the face and upper body.

In total, 15 people went to the hospital with gunshot wounds and one person was treated for an undisclosed injury. The victims are between 20 and 30 years old, Mitchell said. Their injuries ranged from minor gunshot wounds or superficial wounds to the loss of fingers. One person was still in critical condition Thursday afternoon.  

The Oakland Police Officers Association attributed the violence toward police to understaffing in the department.

“If city leaders truly value public safety, we must seriously consider adequately staffing the Oakland Police Department,” read a statement released by the union Thursday. “Just yesterday, our officers were stretched thin, dealing with a homicide, multiple shootings and an incident involving an individual armed with a rifle, in addition to the Juneteenth celebration.”

Mitchell and Beere rejected the idea that there were not enough officers to handle the June 16 event, saying there were 100 officers on patrol Wednesday night, 30 of whom were at the lake.  

“You have to understand this is a big city,” Mitchell said. “We had officers there with special detachments to provide high visibility there.”  

Mitchell also said some officers had been called to reports about someone with a rifle in West Oakland, and also a homicide before that.  

Mitchell said that starting this summer, Oakland police will request assistance from other law enforcement agencies and his department will restrict traffic flow in the area of the melee to reduce the opportunity for sideshows. He also said an increased police presence will be planned for the Fourth of July.  

"The opportunity to celebrate with family and friends should never be marred by gunshots," Mitchell said, adding that the department will "work tirelessly" to identify and arrest the suspects involved in Wednesday's shootings. 

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