California Highway Patrol responded to a deadly shooting Friday night that shut down the northbound lanes of I-880 for several hours in Oakland. And on Sunday, it was reported that Bay Area sports legend Gene Ransom was the fatally wounded victim involved in the murder.
2021 saw over 80 instances of gun violence occur along Alameda County freeways, some of which ended in death; 23-month-old Jasper Wu was struck in the head by a bullet on I-880 in Oakland this past November, killing him. Before the weekend, an eyewitness reported a crash near the Broadway Avenue off-ramp just after 5 p.m. Friday, saying that she saw a car veering on the freeway. On-site CHP later disclosed that the driver was apparently struck by gunfire near the Broadway off-ramp, which caused his car to collide into a guardrail before coming to a complete stop. The victim, whose identity at that time was not released, was pronounced dead by first responders.
And as we've learned today, the victim killed in Friday's act of gun violence was Bay Area sports legend Gene Ransom, per a report by CHP.
ABC7 shared news of the finding Sunday, going into detail how Gene Ransom — a star basketball player in the 1970s at Berkeley High School and Cal Berkeley, who at one point also tried to make it on the Warriors team — left a massive impact on the Bay Area's athletic scene.
Ransom was active in the Bay Area sports community in more ways than one, as well. His best friend, Doug Harris, said to the news outlet that Ransom was actively involved in efforts organized by Athletes United for Peace, which is a local nonprofit working to combat violence in Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond.
Harris was quick to note the disheartening irony between Ransom's work in mitigating violence and his untimely death—"the very thing we worked so hard to prevent for our young people, he has been a victim of, so this is really hard for me."
Ransom eventually found his way back to Berkeley High School later in life, investing his time and talents into coaching the school's basketball players; his students remember him as a "fierce competitor" and an "inspiring coach."
But for many, the lessons that will last a lifetime are the ones Gene taught off the court. For his son, Thaxton Ransom, he was, above all else, a phenomenal father.
Thaxton published the following statement Sunday in response to the passing of his father:
My father was and still is a great man, he was a major influence in the East Bay Area community. He showed love to everyone he met and came across sometimes as a flirt. That was him Gene 'the dream' Ransom. He opened the door for future basketball stars who came out of the Bay Area. He was looked up to and loved by many. I'll never forget him, and will always love him."
A documentary produced by Doug Harris called Tournament of Champions; Legends of Northern California High School Basketball features Ransom at playing the game Berkeley High School. He played three seasons for the Cal Men's Basketball team, landing him a spot in the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. Cal Athletics called him one of the greatest players in the program's history.
Cal Athletics, too, released a statement today waxing on Ransom's legacy, while also describing the department's "shock" at the news of his death; the sports department added that its "thoughts are with Gene's family and friends for this tragic loss."
As of publishing, CHP has arrested at least one suspect thought to be responsible for the killing of Ransom. The highway patrol agency notes that 25-year-old Juan Angel Garcia of San Francisco has since been arrested and charged with his murder; police say the motive behind the shooting is still under investigation.
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Photo: Getty Images/aijohn784