OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Community leaders, grieving relatives and local residents gathered in an East Oakland park Sunday, pleading for city officials to do more to stem a surge of deadly gun violence that continues to claim lives as an alarming rate.
There was no pause or break in the homicide spike over the weekend as the city of Oakland recorded four additional homicides, bringing the total to 65 in 2021, nearly double the number at this time last year.READ MORE: VIDEO: Wind-Whipped Dixie Fire Ignites Homes In Greenville; Fire Crews 'Going Into Life Threat Mode'
Dozens gathered at Elmhurst Park in East Oakland, where so many of these killings are happening.
“To be killed by gun violence it’s wrong,“ said East Oakland native Robin Ware.
In a span of two days in May, Robin Ware’s nephews Kenata Ivan and Shawndell Parker were gunned down.
“There’s so much killings going on. It needs to stop,” said Ware.
“COVID shut us down for a year and a lot of people are angry and the anger is coming out in all kinds of ways,” said Acts Full Gospel Church Bishop Bob Jackson.
Some sang songs and cried out prayers asking for the violence to subside, and demanded more protection from police.
“We’re calling OPD and often not getting a response in our neighborhoods,” said District 7 Oakland City Councilmember Treva Reid.READ MORE: PG&E Stock Dip Impacting Fortunes of Past Wildfire Victims
“It seems like we have the brunt of what’s going on the majority of the homicides and what not are located out here in deep East Oakland,” said Jackson.
Just days ago, the Oakland City Council passed a budget that redirects more than $18 million away from the police department to pay for social service programs.
“I’m angry about the decision that was made that I know will impact where I come from,” said Aaron Smith of the Oakland Police Department.
It’s a move council member Treva Reid opposed, and says will lead to the loss of 50 police officers jobs.
“My neighbors and our community don’t feel like we have that sense of protection as we progress these measures,” said Reid.
For Ware, she’s leaning on her faith, and hoping healing comes soon.
We love our children and our families and for someone to take their lives is not right,” said Ware.
The Anti-Police Terror Project group applauded the city council’s vote on Thursday.MORE NEWS: COVID: Case Surge From Delta Variant Leading to Health Care Worker Fatigue
“The budget will lead to more resources to Black people in district 6 and 7 in East Oakland,” said Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project.