OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A prominent Oakland restaurant owner who had recently talked about making the neighborhood around his place safer has been shot and killed outside his restaurant.
Oakland police say 58-year-old Jesus Campos was shot during a robbery around 5:36 a.m. Friday outside the service entrance to Otaez Mexicatessen in the city’s Fruitvale District. He was apparently preparing for a breakfast serving later in the morning.
KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:
In a statement, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan called Campos’s shooting a “true tragedy.”
She said Campos had recently attended a Fruitvale merchants meeting, where he talked about making the area safer.
He opened the Fruitvale restaurant in 1986.
Police Chief Anthony Batts said an initial investigation indicates that two suspects killed Campos in a botched attempt to rob him.
“They followed him and accosted him at the doorway as he went to go in” the restaurant,” Lt. Brian Medeiros said.
Medieros said police only have a generic description of the suspects at this time, which is that they are two black men between the ages of 20 and 29. The suspects’ getaway car is described as a gray 2000 Buick Regal or Pontiac with four doors, tinted windows and 20-inch tire rims.
Batts said Campos “was a cornerstone of this community and we will respond to this strongly.”
Quan said Campos “was a well-known leader of our community and he had a big heart.”
Quan said she and her family have eaten at Campos’ restaurant “dozens of times” and she said his death is “a great loss to our community.”
The mayor said she had met with Campos last Saturday during a walking tour of the Fruitvale District and he had talked to her about his ideas for making the neighborhood safer.
City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who represents the Fruitvale area and has known Campos for 35 years, said his shooting death is “an outrageous crime” and “absolutely something that will not be forgotten.”
He said, “This is a little bit personal, and we will respond.”
De La Fuente said Campos was an immigrant from Mexico who “built his business from scratch” and wound up owning a total of three restaurants.
The family opened a second restaurant in Alameda in 2006 and a third branch inside the Oakland International Airport last year, according to De La Fuente.
Campos was president of the Mexican-American merchants association in the Fruitvale District and sponsored civic events such as Cinco de Mayo celebrations, De La Fuente said.
De La Fuente said he first met Campos when Campos was a foundry worker at the Production Pattern and Foundry Co. in San Leandro and he was Campos’ union representative.
De La Fuente said the company fired Campos when he left to help his ailing father in Mexico but that he was able to get Campos his job back.
He said Campos is survived by his wife Socorro and a grown son and daughter.
Ron Silva, the chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Alameda County, said he is upset about Campos’ death because he and others have tried to get Oakland officials to crack down on crime in the Fruitvale area and other parts of the city.
“We’ve been ignored and we need to get more officers into that area,” Silva said.
Speaking for himself and other business owners, Silva said, “We’re very mad now and we need to put more pressure on city hall.”
Silva, who owns a landscaping business, said Campos had been robbed at gunpoint several times in the past.
Quan said a total of $30,000 has been raised so far for a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
She said she has asked Gov. Jerry Brown, who formerly served as Oakland’s mayor, to contribute another $40,000, which would bring the reward total to $70,000.
Oakland police said anyone with information about Campos’ shooting death should call the homicide unit at (510) 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at (510) 777-8572 or (510) 777-3211.
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