Two gunmen shot several victims in Oakland, Calif., Monday night, leading police on a hunt for the shooters. The Associated Press reported that seven people, all men ages of 23 through 31, were wounded during the shooting that took place on a sidewalk outside a birthday party. Two of the men hit were in critical condition.
"This is really kind of outrageous," Police Chief Sean Whent told the Oakland Tribune. "Six o'clock at night isn't that late at night. So, really pretty brazen stuff on the street corner at that time of day."
Gunshots were first reported around 6 p.m. Monday night. ABC Local News noted that the city’s ShotSpotter system, a device that detects gunfire using acoustic or optical sensors, alerted police to a barrage of gunfire in the area. When officers arrived on the scene, they found several people wounded. Police believe some of them were not even targeted, according to The Los Angeles Times.
"A bullet went straight through my ponytail, cut right through my hair," Isabel Mayfield, a 56-year-old woman who was walking with friends when she heard the gunshots, told reporters. "I hit the floor. Anytime you hear bullets, you drop. If I stood up, I might be dead." Mayfield recalled hearing between 10 and 15 gunshots at the time of the Oakland shooting.
So far, investigators have failed to make any arrests or even establish a motive. It’s unclear whether the shooters were on foot or in a vehicle. One of the victims injured during the Oakland shooting was critically hurt, suffering a shot to the neck. The six others sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to The Associated Press. One man was shot in the leg and foot.
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According to KQED News, Oakland has struggled significantly with gun street violence over the past few years. In 2012, authorities recorded 131 homicides in the city of 400,000 residents across the bay from San Francisco, making it one of the country’s most dangerous cities. Additionally, Oakland reported more than 4,100 gun-related crimes in 2012, more than both San Francisco and San Jose – which have twice as many residents as Oakland.
“When you hear about violence in America on the news, the tagline associated with it is gang-related,” Zachary Carey, a local pastor with True Vine Ministries, told KQED. “But the reality is, people that are being murdered now are not gang-related, they’re innocent bystanders.”