OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An unruly crowd at an Oakland sideshow erupted in violence Sunday night, forcing a big rig driver out of his cab at gunpoint before looting the truck’s trailer and setting it ablaze, authorities said.
The Oakland police said they were overwhelmed by the illegal sideshow activity across the city.
“The Oakland Police Department anticipated illegal sideshow activity in the City of Oakland and increased staffing in response,” the department said in a release. “By mid-evening, the number of sideshow participants increased to approximately 1,000 spectators and vehicles that were spread out in various locations of the city. This stretched the Department’s resources beyond its capacity.”
Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said officers were surprised by how many sideshows broke out.
“What we didn’t expect is that sideshow (activity) would reach the level that it did,” she told reporters. “Not only the level in activity which really dipped into quite a bit of violence, but also the numbers.”
The crowd at a sideshow at 42nd Avenue and International Boulevard reeled out of control around 8:30 p.m.
“Members of the sideshow crowd surrounded a commercial transport truck and an AC Transit bus,” the police said in a release. “The driver of the commercial transport truck was removed at gunpoint and the truck was set on fire (he sustained no injuries).”
Watson called the incident a carjacking.
“He was carjacked and once he was removed from the vehicle, his truck was set on fire,” she said. “Inside the truck were paper goods sush as plates, napkins, things like that.”
Then the crowd turned their attention to an AC Transit bus.
“The AC Transit bus’s windows were broken out and the bus was set on fire (no injuries reported),” police said. “As officers attempted to clear the area, so that the Oakland Fire Department could extinguish the fire, gunshots were heard from inside the crowd, which delayed response.”
Police were able to gain an upper hand and sideshow activity city wide concluded by 10 p.m.
Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said a female deputy who responded to what he described as “the chaotic scene” at 42nd Avenue and International Boulevard suffered “a very significant injury to her knee” that will require surgery and a long rehabilitation process.
Kelly said the crowd of about 1,000 people “was almost impossible to control” because “there were not enough cops on duty in the East Bay” to contain it.
Kelly said it was “lucky” no one was killed and no one except the sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured.
Oakland police said officers issued nearly 200 citations, numerous vehicles were towed and several firearms were recovered.
Oakland police said they will be joined by officers from neighboring jurisdictions this coming weekend in an effort to stem the surge in violence and illegal sideshow activity.
“Violent, disruptive, illegal behavior will not be tolerated in Oakland,” police said. “Our investigators will be working to identify those responsible for committing crimes and participating in illegal sideshow activity.”
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