It's like a war scene from the evening news -- a man armed with an AK-47 indiscriminately opens fire on an apartment building, killing a man and injuring a woman. But this war zone is in East Oakland.
The incident happened at 7979 MacArthur Blvd., and those who live and work in the neighborhood said Tuesday that "war zone" is in no way too strong a term to describe the area. Random gunfire is common, and there is little hope of peace.
"I hear guns two, three times a week," said a woman who identified herself only as Theresa because she fears reprisals from the neighborhood drug dealers.
Theresa lives just a few doors down from where a gunman armed with an AK-47 opened fire Sunday night, strafing the building with bullets and killing George Hasbua, 49, and injuring a woman whom police still will not identify. A dozen bullet holes pepper the gray wall next to the front door.
Hasbua was the 30th homicide victim in Oakland this year.
The apartment building where he lived sits just off busy MacArthur Boulevard, surrounded by a mix of apartments and storefronts that include two small grocery stores, a liquor store, a hair salon and a Chinese restaurant.
Gunfire is pervasive in the area, as are gangs and the violence they often bring.
"It's an ongoing thing," said a woman who moved into the neighborhood last August, but moved out a few weeks ago because of the violence. She was visiting someone in the area. "It didn't surprise me at all that they have those kinds of weapons. That's why I moved, I got tired of hearing guns."
But others can't leave.
"I've got to find me somewhere else to live," said Carolyn Walker, who was in her apartment when the shooting happened.
Norman Owens and his girlfriend, Renee Cotton, stood across the street waiting for a bus. Owens said he never allows Cotton to go out alone. It's just too dangerous.
"I don't even like her to go out to the store," said Owens, 47. "Something really needs to be done."
Cotton, 38, nodded her head in agreement.
"Maybe an officer on the corner or something," she said.
That's exactly what the city would like to do, and the Police Department has put together a plan to increase from 40 to 104 the number of officers on the street during the busiest times of night. The added officers will hit the street by the end of next month.
But it may be too little, too late.
The owners of Suzuki of Oakland -- one of the few major businesses in the area -- said they plan to leave soon to escape the constant violence.
"It's horrible, people are afraid to come here," said David Stanton, co-owner of the motorcycle dealership.
Stanton and Jacques Geoffrion bought the business eight months ago. It's been at 7956 MacArthur Blvd. for decades, but they plan to move the stylish motorcycles and off-road vehicles that fill the showroom to another shop by the end of August.
"Just two weeks ago, we hit the floor here because someone was firing off a gun in broad daylight," Geoffrion said. "People were coming in here off the street for cover. We knew it was an area that had its challenges, but we had no idea it was this level of anarchy."
Geoffrion's heard about Police Chief Wayne Tucker's plan, but he has little faith in the police. He said it took 45 minutes for a patrol car to respond to that shooting two weeks ago.
"We really feel for the people that live here," he said. "We get to go home at night, but they're abandoned here. It's a war zone."
Police did not announce an arrest or any new developments in the case Tuesday. But residents believe drug dealers who spend much of the day on the corners near the building were probably behind the shooting.
And though gunfire is commonplace, some residents were shocked the assailant was armed with what police said was an AK-47, a high-powered rifle.
Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said there was no data yet on how many assault weapons are being brought into state, but such firearms have been of increasing concern since Congress allowed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban to expire in 2004. Gun control advocates say the weapons are becoming increasingly popular among criminals.
But the people who live on MacArthur Boulevard don't care about the promise of more police officers or statistics about assault weapons. In their eyes, no one cares. They feel they've been abandoned.
"My boyfriend has been down to the (police) substation plenty of times," Theresa said, holding her granddaughter's hand while standing outside the building where Hasbua was shot. "He's called plenty of times about the drug activity and violence around here."
Oakland is a disgusting place. And the people there like to move elsewhere in the area and bring their crime with them.
Of course they are!! Everyone knows that "assault weapons" ceased to exists from 1994 until 2004. they only reappeared after the ban expired :/
bitch please...we cant even find any damn ammo....