The day set aside to celebrate the July 4, 1776 anniversary of America gaining independence from the British crown was marked in Oakland, California, in 2021 with deadly violence.
“The last 24 hours have been very challenging in the city of Oakland,” Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said at news conference at police headquarters on Monday. “It was 12 hours of nonstop chaos.”
Armstrong said the violence was life-threatening, including slow response time for medical assistance because resources were overwhelmed.
From 6:30 p.m. on Sunday until 10 a.m. Monday police reported seven shootings, which left one woman in critical condition and not expected to survive and resulted in the death of a 48-year-old man — the 67th homicide recorded this year.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on this development as a crime wave continues across the country and described the scene in the city as a “sideshow:”
Armstrong said a vast majority of the injuries were caused by celebratory gunfire, such as bullets shot into the air that rain back down, in “one of the more violent Fourth of Julys” he had ever seen.
Simultaneously, police monitored a sideshow of more than 300 cars and 200 spectators roaming across the city. Some participants were armed with guns and pointing lasers or throwing objects at officers, the chief said. One spectator was hit by a car and sustained injuries that may require “lifelong medical treatment,” he added.
Police arrested three people, seized five guns and towed six cars in response to the sideshow. The violence piled on top of a busy weekend for Oakland firefighters, who responded to 61 fire-related calls Sunday and three structure fires early Monday morning. Deputy Chief Nick Luby told The Chronicle that “there is a high probability” two of the three fires were caused by fireworks.
Breitbart News reported on how just days earlier Armstrong slammed the city council for redirecting police funding to social programs.
The Chronicle reported that Armstrong wants to hold a rally to call for an end to the violence.
“We have to get people to put down guns,” Armstrong said. “We are losing people at an alarming rate, and we have to recognize how much trauma and hurt and pain it causes in our community.”
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