Oakland plans vigil as 4th officer dies
OAKLAND, Calif. ” The city of Oakland prepared to gather in grief Tuesday as a fourth police officer shot by a man wanted on a parole violation was taken off life support.
A major city thoroughfare was set to be closed down for an evening vigil at the street corner where Officer John Hege and another officer were shot Saturday during a traffic stop.
Hege was taken off life support Monday night and his heart, liver and kidneys removed, said Andrea Breaux of Alameda County Medical Center. The 41-year-old officer had been declared brain dead Sunday, but the hospital kept him on life support so his organs could be donated, in keeping with his wishes.
The officer’s death brings to five the number of people killed in Saturday’s confrontation, including the gunman.
“It’s reached a point where we’re asking ourselves, ‘Can we knit this city back together?’ as we try to make some sense out of this,” said Mary Busby, an Oakland resident for 25 years.
A public memorial service for the officers was scheduled for Friday morning at the Oracle Arena.
Police said Hege and his partner, Sgt. Mark Dunakin, were the first to be gunned down when the two motorcycle officers pulled over parolee Lovelle Mixon on Saturday.
In the manhunt that followed, two more officers ” Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35 ” died when the city’s SWAT team stormed an apartment where Mixon was hiding. Mixon also was killed in the shootout.
The day before the traffic stop, Oakland investigators had gotten information possibly linking Mixon to a February rape. DNA found at the scene was a probably match to Mixon, police spokesman Jeff Thomason said Monday night.
California prison records show that authorities also had issued a warrant for Mixon’s arrest after he missed a mandatory meeting with his parole officer on Feb. 19.
The incident has prompted California’s attorney general to call for better monitoring of parole violators.
Prison and court records show Mixon, 26, had served nearly five years in state prison for assault with a firearm during an armed robbery in San Francisco. More recently, he served several months in prison last year for a parole violation.
Mixon also was a suspect in a December 2007 murder but was never charged because of lack of evidence, officials said.
During traffic stops, police often check vehicle records to find whether the driver has outstanding warrants. But police have not disclosed how Saturday’s shooting unfolded.
Mixon’s family members said he was upset that he was unable to find work, felt his parole officer was not helping him and feared he would be arrested for a parole violation.
Associated Press writers Marcus Wohlsen and Juliana Barbassa in San Francisco and Lisa Leff in Oakland contributed to this report.
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