OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A decorated officer who retired from the Oakland Police Department remained in ICU as of Friday evening after a gun battle with multiple robbery suspects.

Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong walked out of Highland Hospital from his visit with retired Captain Ersie Joyner just before 5 p.m.

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“Captain Joyner is recovering. He’s in good spirits. (I’m) just really happy to see him and have a chance to be able to say we appreciate everything he’s done. And we look forward to his continuing recovery,” said Armstrong, just in front of Highland.

The chief said the motive appeared to be a random robbery. Law enforcement sources told KPIX 5 it was unlikely the three suspects knew Joyner when they robbed him on Thursday afternoon at a Chevron gas station near Highway 980. Joyner was pumping gas at the time of the robbery.

Joyner shot and killed one suspect. Sources said Joyner was shot six times in the legs and stomach. Two suspects drove off in a Nissan sedan.

The robbers apparently picked the retired captain because he was dressed up and driving a nice car.

“I’m almost sure that they didn’t know who he was because I don’t know anybody that didn’t [respect him]. Even guys that he had to put in jail, he had to arrest, I even think they came out thanking him because he probably saved their lives,” said Bishop Bob Jackson at Acts Full Gospel Church.

Jackson started working with the retired captain when he was just a young patrol officer many years ago.

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The bishop and his church would team up with Joyner to work with high-risk individuals to reduce gun violence. Joyner led the crime reduction Ceasefire program for about five years. During that time, the city saw some of the lowest murder rates in decades.

“Ersie was from the city. I mean he was raised up in Sobrante Park,” said Jackson. “He was one of the most decorated police officers we’ve ever had in the City of Oakland and that he was so attached to Black community.”

Joyner grew up in poor East Oakland and rose through the ranks of OPD. He spent 28 years on the force before retiring in 2019. After his retirement, he became a part-owner of two cannabis companies.

“He was also beloved, beloved by the rank and file, beloved by members of all levels of the organization,” said Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association.

Donelan said a responding officer rushed Joyner to Highland Hospital with his police car. He said it was the second time a responding officer had to rush a fellow wounded officer with a patrol car to Highland since September.

“He’s a retired police officer, but you know what he also is? An Oakland resident getting gas at a gas station, set upon by some brazen robbers in the middle of the day,” said Donelan. “That could’ve been anyone.”

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Armstrong said as of Friday evening, no one had been arrested in the case. As for the suspect who was shot and killed Joyner, some friends of the man claimed he was a Vallejo rapper. The police chief would not confirm that information or release his name.