OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An anonymous police source told KPIX Wednesday that multiple Oakland police detectives and officers didn’t want to arrest the Chinatown store owner who used a handgun to stop a woman from being robbed earlier this week.
The owner of a liquor store in Oakland’s Chinatown — who has not been identified by authorities — intervened to stop the robbery early Monday evening.READ MORE: UPDATE: 1 Dead, 6 Wounded in Saturday Evening Shooting at Oakland's Lake Merritt
At about 5:30 p.m., the store owner saw a woman being robbed of her camera at the corner of Ninth and Franklin. After seeing the woman knocked to the ground, the owner ran out with a gun, ordering the assailant to stop and reportedly firing four shots.
The suspect fled in a vehicle, but when police arrived to investigate the incident, they took the business owner into custody.
According to the anonymous Oakland police officer, “detectives, sergeants and a lieutenant did not think the man should have been booked into jail.” The officer said that the order to arrest the store owner came from ranking members of the OPD at the scene including a captain and a deputy chief.
The anonymous officer said the store owner was held in jail for less than 12 hours and was released by Tuesday afternoon.
The anonymous source said that the store owner fired his gun after the robbery suspects got into their car to flee the scene and nearly hit the victim with the vehicle.
New Oakland Chief of Police LeRonne Armstrong addressed the incident in a live Facebook video Tuesday afternoon.
Armstrong told gathered media that police want input from the public, but for safety reasons would rather people report crimes to the department instead of getting involved.READ MORE: San Francisco Police Arrest Suspect In String Of Brazen Mission District Pharmacy Retail Thefts
“Our message really is that we don’t want to see our business owners or others begin to arm themselves,” said Armstrong. “We would really prefer them to be good witnesses and give us the observations that they have; share that information, call law enforcement immediately and let OPD respond and follow up. What we really don’t want to do is bring any additional issues that threaten safety into the equation.”
Armstrong noted that officers often times are challenged when they have to determine who the suspect is when encountering armed citizens who are trying to intervene in a situation.
“Particularly, we don’t want people to fire weapons into our community. When weapons are fired in our community, there could be unintended victims; people who are hit by gunfire. And we want to avoid that as much as we can.”
The anonymous officer also noted that the store owner had a valid permit to carry a firearm and the firearm he used was registered in his name. The officer said that the business owner is known to the police department and has helped with past investigations, calling police dispatch and officers directly to provide information on specific cases.
The officer said those cases including an instance that led to the recovery of a suspect vehicle involved in multiple robberies as well as tips that helped lead to the arrests of two suspects who assaulted elderly Asian victims. One of those suspects was Yahya Muslim, the man accused of attacking a 91-year-old man and two other victims in Chinatown.
The assault on the 91-year-old man was caught on video, which showed Muslim pushing the victim from behind, making him fall hard to the ground.
Muslim is being charged with assault, battery, elder abuse and a special allegation of offenses while out on bail after his arrest was announced last week.
During court appearance on Feb. 9, the defendant was given no bail on two assault charges and $155,000 on a third charge.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office revealed Muslim has two prior felony assault convictions. Authorities said they are investigating whether the attacks were racially motivated.MORE NEWS: Vacaville Police Seek Help In Identifying Neighborhood Peeper
Muslim will be back in court on March 2nd for a plea hearing.