Vigil planned as Oakland police killings sink in
Editor's note: After the following Associated Press article was published, hospital spokeswoman Andrea Breaux of Alameda County Medical Center announced that the fourth Oakland police officer, Ofcr. John Hege, was taken off life support. The 41-year-old officer's family had kept him alive so his organs could be donated. Anyone who would like to make a contribution to trust funds set up for the families may do so by two methods — wire transfer or by check. Wire transfers may be made directly to the following Merrill Lynch accounts: The Dunakin Children's Family Trust, Acct. No. 204-04065; The Romans Children's Family Trust, Acct. No. 204-04066; and The Sakai Family Trust, Acct. No. 204-04064. No fund had been set up as of Monday afternoon on behalf of Hege, who had no children. Individual checks can also be made out to the families and mailed to the Oakland Police Officer's Association, Attn: Rennee Hassna, 555 5th Street, Oakland, CA, 94607. Make checks payable to the Dunakin Children's Family Trust; the Romans Children's Family Trust; Sakai Family Trust.
By Marcus Wohlsen
John Deruiter of Walnut Creek, Calif., who works in Oakland, Calif., signs a book of condolences for the fallen Oakland police officers at City Hall in Oakland. Oakland's police department has been left stunned after four officers were killed during confrontations with a parolee on Saturday, the department's worst single-day death toll. (AP Photo)
|Coverage of the Oakland police murders:
News report: Oakland PD stunned by day of loss
OAKLAND, Calif. — California's attorney general is calling for better monitoring of parole violators after a parolee killed three Oakland police officers and left a fourth brain-dead. Police said the gunman has been tentatively linked to a February rape.
DNA found at the scene of the rape was a probable match to Lovelle Mixon, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said Monday night.
Investigators got that information Friday, the day before a routine traffic stop ended in gunfire. Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, was killed and Officer John Hege, 41, was left brain-dead. About two hours later, two more officers, Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, were killed at a nearby apartment, before Mixon was fatally shot.
Hege was still on life support late Monday.
Flowers piled up outside Oakland police headquarters and books brimmed with condolences. A vigil was planned for Tuesday evening at the corner near where the two motorcycle officers pulled over Mixon.
"This is the biggest tragedy ever to hit our department," Oakland police Sgt. Mark Schmid said. "We're just numb and walking around like zombies. We feel each other's pain but we don't know how to explain it."
California prison records show that authorities had issued a warrant for Mixon's arrest after he failed to make a mandatory meeting with his parole officer on Feb. 19.
The family said he had previously served six years in state prison for assault with a firearm during an armed robbery in San Francisco. More recently, he had served several months in prison last year.
State Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will examine how Mixon, 26, was monitored following his release from prison in November. Mixon also was a suspect in a murder but was never charged, according to state prison officials.
"Mixon was certainly a character that needed more supervision," said Brown, the former mayor of Oakland. "In Oakland, the highway patrol has an office there, sheriff and police. And all those agencies should have a list of the more dangerous, threatening parolees so they can keep a watch on them."
Problems involving parolees from California's overcrowded prison system have long beset state officials who must monitor them, local officials who try to keep streets safe and federal authorities who enforce firearms and other laws.
Mixon was one of 164 Oakland parolees in mid-March who had outstanding arrest warrants for parole violations, state prison records show.
The city of 400,000 had more than 1,900 total parolees at the time, including nearly 300 who had been returned to custody or whose parole was about to be revoked.
During traffic stops, police often check vehicle records to find whether the driver has outstanding warrants. But police have not disclosed how Saturday's shooting unfolded.
Mixon's family members said he was upset that he was unable to find work, felt his parole officer was not helping him and feared he would be arrested for a parole violation.
State prison officials said Mixon's parole officer was responsible for 70 parolees.
A caseload of that size is nearly unmanageable, and also not unusual, said Lance Corcoran, spokesman for California's prison guard union, which includes parole officers.
"There is no control," Corcoran said. "It's simply supervision, and supervision at distance."
Associated Press writers Josh Dubow, Lisa Leff and Juliana Barbassa in San Francisco and Terry Collins in Oakland contributed to this report.