There have been three fatal shootings in three months on Oakland highways, so Mayor Schaaf says it's time for cameras. The problem? It’s not her decision.
It was a little over three months ago that two-year-old Jasper Wu was shot and killed, perhaps randomly, while his family was driving on I-880. Then in early January, an Alameda sheriff’s deputy in training was also shot and killed with a seemingly random bullet. And on Friday, former Cal basketball standout Gene Ransom was shot while driving on an I-80 off-ramp.
These three high-profile deaths follow on a year of crazy freeway shooting activity in the East Bay — the CHP counted 81 separate shootings on Alameda County freeways last year. That’s why KPIX reports Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wants highway cameras installed on the I-80 auxiliaries of I-580 and I-880.
“We have several unsolved shootings on this very same highway,“ Schaaf told KPIX. (While KPIX reports that a suspect has been arrested in Ransom’s shooting, law enforcement has still not announced any leads on the shooting of sheriff’s deputy recruit David Nguyen, or little two-year-old Jasper Wu.)
But interstate highways do not fall under Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s jurisdiction, this is Governor Gavin Newsom’s call. Newsom would have to authorize this in the state budget, and there would surely be howls from privacy advocates.
“This has to be part of the budget process because we are asking for the purchase of new equipment,” Schaaf told KPIX. “I do believe it needs privacy protection and this is potentially an opportunity to increase privacy protections for all the technology that the state uses.”
NBC Bay Area went through CHP data and found that “statistics show freeway shootings more than doubled between 2019 and the end of 2021,” and that “Investigators say gang warfare is the leading cause of the spike.” The second part of that statement may be speculation. But there’s no question Oakland freeway shootings have been more common in the last few months, and it's understandable for officials to be grasping to try new solutions.
Image: A stock photo of the Oakland/San Francisco road sign in California, USA