OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Seven men were wounded, one critically, when gunfire erupted on an Oakland street and continued for several blocks, police said.
Officers received reports of a shooting about a block away from a park in East Oakland shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. Police learned about a second shooting scene nearby when they arrived.
Watson said Tuesday that initial reports suggest that two armed suspects approached a group of men who were celebrating a birthday and began shooting at them.
One of the victims is in critical condition, down from an initial police report of two, while the other six suffered non-life threatening injuries, Watson said. The wounded are between the ages of 23 and 31.
Police do not have a motive for the shooting and were still trying to determine whether the assailants were on foot or in a vehicle.
Chief Sean Whent said it was possible several of the victims were not targeted.
“This is really kind of outrageous,” Whent said after arriving at the scene. “Six o’clock at night isn’t that late at night.”
Residents told reporters at the scene that many people were outside attending a barbecue at the time of the shooting.
One witness, Isabell Mayfield, told reporters after the shooting that she heard up to 15 shots and instinctively ducked when a bullet whizzed by her head.
“One of them went straight through my ponytail and I do believe that if I hadn’t fallen down on the ground, I probably would be dead,” Mayfield said.
Whent said the shooting occurred at a time when more police officers have been re-assigned over to east Oakland where more than half of the city’s violent crimes take place.
“Basically we’re putting the cops where we know most violent crime is occurring, and absent this obviously highly tragic incident, shootings are significantly down this year, murders are significantly down this year,” Whent said. “So there are signs of progress, but obviously stuff like this shows we still have work to do.”
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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