Community members in Oakland gathered for a prayer vigil Sunday to mark the city's 100th homicide last week, and just hours earlier the count rose to 102 with the fatal shootings of two more young men.
With just over three months left in the year, Oakland is on pace to tally around 20% more homicides than in 2020, with last year already marking an uptick from the year prior.
The two men killed Sunday morning were shot around 1:55 p.m. on the 3700 block of High Street, and their names have not yet been released, as KRON4 reports. Their ages: 21 and 26. Police continue to investigate the motive for the shooting, and they have not yet found a suspect.
The prayer vigil in Mosswood Park on Sunday had been previously planned by Bay Area Community Benefit Organization, a coalition of churches that has been hosting similar events throughout this year. As KTVU reports, the gathering had been meant to mark the grim milestone of 100 killings in the city as of last Monday.
"When we started this, we were at 22 killings in Oakland and that was devastating for us, and now here we are some seven, eight months later, and we are over 100 killings right now," said LJ Jennings of Bay Area Community Benefit Organization, per KTVU.
Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church made a plea to Governor Gavin Newsom at the event, saying, "Who’s helping us? Governor Newsom are you watching TV, can you come and help Oakland. We need help."
Oakland saw 109 homicides in 2020, up from 74 in 2019, and 67 in 2018 — meaning that this year's total is almost guaranteed to be double the homicide count three years ago.
Following a shootout last week between an Oakland police officer and a suspect, which left both wounded, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong called the trend "intolerable." His comments also capped off a week in which the city saw 10 new homicides.
"This is the sober reminder of how dangerous it is in the city of Oakland," Armstrong said in a press conference. "How armed suspects will quickly utilize these firearms toward our officers like we’ve seen in so many other cases. The hundred homicides in our city. Three shootings last night alone. The level of violence in this city continues to be intolerable."
Armstrong has been critical this year of efforts by the city council to take funding — and officers — away from the department.
"We can be vocal about certain things. I just don’t understand why this community can’t be vocal about a hundred lives lost,” Armstrong said last week, per KPIX. “We can scream and yell about anything that the police department does wrong, but in this time, we can't speak up about what’s plaguing all of us. And that’s gun violence."