OAKLAND (KCBS) – Two suspected gang members have been arrested on suspicion of murder for the fatal shooting last summer of a popular Oakland dog walker, police announced Thursday.
22-year-old Stephon Lee of Richmond and 21-year-old Mario Floyd of Oakland are facing special circumstance enhancements for the killing.
66-year-old Judy Salamon, who was driving several blocks from home on July 24, 2013 when, police say, multiple shots were fired directly at her car.
Oakland Police Sgt. Mike Gantt said eight months after the crime, which shocked the community, investigators have been able to piece together through witnesses, what happened that afternoon.
“After shooting Ms. Salamon, her phone was taken. We believe Ms. Salamon had witnessed some type of crime being committed by these two individuals, at which time, she began to record their activities,” he said.
Sgt. Gantt said Salamon was following the two suspects, before they confronted and shot her. She had been working with neighbor Jan Hetherington to get support for private security patrols in their neighborhood.
“It’s very sad to hear that she may have gone a little bit more than she should have done,” Hetherington said. “She wasn’t keeping herself as safe as she should have.”
Floyd and Lee are facing charges of murder and robbery, the special circumstance of killing in the course of a robbery, and weapons enhancements, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Salamon was known to some around the city’s Fairfax neighborhood as “the pet nanny” because the 66-year-old was a go-to person for pet sitting and dog walking.
Gantt said Salamon “was a brave lady but she should have called 911″ instead of following the two men.”We want people to be vigilant, not vigilantes. We don’t want people to follow suspects,” said Gantt.
Oakland City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, who represents the area where Salamon lived and was killed, said Thursday Schaaf had been advocating for hiring a private security firm to patrol her neighborhood because she was concerned that police weren’t patrolling enough there.
A private security firm was finally hired later last year, she said.
After hearing the details about how police believe that Salamon was killed, Schaaf said, “I am worried that citizens are putting themselves in danger because they are not confident that police will come quickly when they are called. We have got to fix that problem.”
She said people in the area where Salamon lived “felt under siege last summer” until the private security firm was hired.
Schaaf, who is running for mayor in the November election, said the Oakland Police Department still doesn’t have enough officers on the streets even though it is starting to recruit and hire more officers.
The department had 837 officers six years ago but Schaaf said it dropped to 609 officers last year, which said she was the lowest staffing in 35 years, and now has just 611 officers.
Schaaf she’s not including 47 new officers who graduated from a police academy earlier this month because they must still undergo three months of training before they can work on their own.
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