Man shot to death near Occupy Oakland tent city

Man was fatally shot in the head just outside BART station; Oakland mayor says risks at encampment have become too great.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 11, 2011 09:25
2 minute read.
police in Oakland

police in Oakland. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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A young man was shot to death just outside the Occupy Oakland encampment at City Hall Thursday evening, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, just as activists were planning to celebrate the tent city's one-month birthday.

The man was fatally shot in the head at around 5 p.m. local time outside a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station near the Occupy camp, and was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the Highland Hospital in Oakland, according to the report.

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Several activists at Occupy Oakland said they did not recognize the man, but many were wondering whether or not the killing may have been related to the gathering in downtown Oakland.

According to Reuters, the shooting occurred after a fight broke out near the BART station, but no arrests have been made yet. Police have not revealed the man's identity.

One witness, 29 of Oakland, told the Chronicle he saw several young men surrounding the victim, who was lying on the ground, beating him as he tried to block his face. He said that activists at the camp had tried to break up the fight before the "gun was pulled," according to the report.

According to the Oakland Local, Occupiers rushed the site of the shooting after three shots were fired, attempting to clear the area amidst the ensuing chaos.

One woman, a nurse practitioner who declined to give her name for fear of retaliation, told the Local that she witnessed the incident. She said that she believed the people involved had "gang affiliation" and were not related to the Occupy camp.

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Members of the Occupy Oakland tent city organized a candlelit vigil for the shooting victim, a somber ceremony on a day that was supposed to be a celebration for the camp's one-month anniversary.

And while activists have largely taken their own security into their own hands, daily fending off robberies and fights, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said in a news conference on Thursday said the city was, once again, planning to tear down the encampment.

Quan cited risks that are "too great for having an encampment out there," the Chronicle reported.

He said earlier on Thursday that already half of those in the tent city, which has approached 200 tents, are homeless. A survey revealed that 37 percent of respondents were less willing to visit the downtown area due to the protest. Many business complain that the presence of the camp is driving away customers.

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