East Bay News

Guardian Angels announce they'll help patrol streets

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A father of three from Virginia was killed in Oakland Sunday night and his killers got away with $17. He was here in the Bay Area for a job interview at Google. His death was one of several violent incidents that happened over the weekend.

One high ranking officer told ABC7 he doesn't even know what to say. The police are exhausted. In one incident, a sniper was shooting at officers. Residents say they feel nervous, especially since the city just laid of 80 police officers.

Jinghong Kang, 45, of Virginia was shot and killed last night after being robbed in Downtown Oakland at 19th and Webster Streets. The father of three gave the men $17, but they shot him anyway.

"Just a very, very, very decent person. I'm shocked. I'm terribly shocked. This is terrible news," said Kang's neighbor John Thomas.

Friends and family in Virginia say the computer engineer was here for a job interview at Google. To prepare for the meeting a friend of his who works at Lake Merritt Dental as a hygienist cleaned his teeth. She was helping him put his hotel address into his rental car's GPS when they were robbed.

"My goodness, they have three kids. I'm sorry for their whole family," said Thomas.

This wasn't the only violent call Oakland police responded to Sunday night. About 30 minutes after the murder, a sniper in West Oakland opened fire on police officers conducting a traffic stop. The shooter was using a rifle from up above in a high rise building. No one was hurt and no arrests were made.

"I know it's been a lot of problems. It's scary, very scary," said Nancy Hoffe who works in Oakland.

People who work and live in Oakland say this violence has them questioning the City Council's move to lay off 80 police officers.

"With the cops getting cutback also in Oakland, it's really scary as well," said Oakland resident Shirley Cachola.

"We're nervous about that, with 80 officers not on the street anymore. It's something to be worried about," said Hoffe.

In response to the cutbacks at the police department, the Guardian Angels announced they will start patrolling the streets. The volunteers aren't armed, but carry handcuffs and believe they serve as a deterrent. They are also trained in self-defense and understand the legal procedures to make citizens arrests.

In 2008, Mayor Ron Dellums requested the Guardian Angels presence in the Lake Merritt area. Back then, there had been a string of eight armed restaurant robberies.

But the police union president, Dom Arotzarena, said he's worried about them.

"I don't know who decided to do that, but I feel for them. I hope that their safety is going to be OK out there," said Arotzarena.

The Guardian Angels were planning to patrol the streets on Monday night, but couldn't round up enough volunteers.

As for police, there are talks of more layoffs down the road, so about 30 or 40 current officers already have sent applications to other police departments.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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oakland, east bay news, amy hollyfield
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