Hours after the city celebrated “National Night Out” – an annual national movement against crime – a double homicide early Wednesday morning claimed the lives of 20–year-old Andrew Thomas and his one-year-old son Drew Jackson.
Marking the 60th and 61st homicides of the year, the killing of another child in Oakland comes days after the funeral services of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, who was shot and killed while attending a friend’s sleepover.
Thomas, a Fresno resident, was in town for the funeral of his 18-yr-old cousin Alquino Rivera, killed last Saturday.
According to Oakland Police Department Media Spokesperson Johnna Watson, a gunman fired shots through a back bedroom window, striking the two victims.
Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene while baby Drew was taken to
a nearby hospital and pronounced dead a short time after.
Watson would not confirm whether or not the shootings were related to the earlier killing, but a suspect in connection to Rivera’s murder had been taken into custody.
Community members are enraged by the senseless killings that are more often taking the lives of innocent children. Since 2011, 21 of Oakland’s homicide victims have been under the age of 18; Jackson was the youngest at 16 months old.
“The senseless act of killing speaks to the depth of Oakland’s violence epidemic. If we cannot feel safe in our home then where can we feel safe at,” said Sokhom Mao, Vice-chairman of Oakland’s Citizens’ Police Review Board.
Rev. Harold Mayberry of First AME Oakland said that an end must come to the “negative culture” rapidly running throughout the Oakland community, urging spiritual leaders to work with officials to find an end to the problem.
“It is important for the faith community to join with elected officials and people across the community in a grassroots effort to address the situation, which continues to rob families of children and loved ones,” Mayberry said.
Felicia Johnson, the victims’ aunt, would not comment about the investigation, and asked for the media to respect the family’s privacy.
“Just pray for us,” Johnson said.
A press conference was held Wednesday night, where District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid offered his condolences and support to the family, as did clergy members, including the Baptist Ministers Union and the Pastors of Oakland.
Reid said he was tired of the city’s talk about putting a plan together to reduce the violence.
“We have more plans that we need. What does this say about us as a city when we cannot protect our children?” he asked.
“It’s another sad day in Oakland.”