On the afternoon of Saturday, March 21, 2009, two motorcycle officers and two members of the Oakland SWAT team from the Oakland Police Department were shot and tragically killed by Lovelle Mixon, a convicted felon wanted for the brutal rape of of a 12-year-old girl near Eastmont Mall on February 5, 2009. Mixon also committed the violent double rape of two young women setting up their food cart early on the morning of March 21, 2009.
Sergeant Mark Dunakin, a motorcycle sergeant, pulled over Mixon in what is described in the independent report as a "routine traffic stop" for a minor traffic violation. 1 Motorcycle Officer John Hege came over to cover Sgt Dunakin. The officers approached Mixon on the driver's side together and Mixon shot both of them with a semi-automatic pistol. Citizens came to the aid of the officers and called 911. A city-wide response was requested and according to the report, over 115 uniformed officers from Oakland and neighboring cities responded.
After a standoff with the Oakland Police and the SWAT team at the apartment of Mixon's sister, during which he killed Sergeant Ervin Romans and Sergeant Daniel Sakai, two members of the SWAT team with an SKS rifle, Mixon was finally shot and killed by police.
The memorial service for the four police officers was held at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Friday, March 27, 2009. With the Arena completely filled, the overflow mourners viewed the service on closed circuit TV from the Oakland Coliseum next door to the Arena. Literally thousands of law enforcement officers from all around the United States attended the services. Helicopters from all over the state flew overhead throughout the sober memorial.
The names of the slain police officers are:
- Sergeant Mark Thomas Dunakin, age 40 (married with three children)
- Officer John Raymond Hege, age 41 (died on March 24, 2009)
- Sergeant Ervin Julius Romans, II, age 43 (married with three children and two step-children)
- Sergeant Daniel Takashi Sakai, age 35
In addition to the four murdered officers, Sergeant Pat Gonzales was seriously injured.
The City commissioned an independent report on the incident. Current Police Chief Howard Jordan was the Acting Police Chief at the time of the shooting. The handling of the incident was evaluated and seriously criticized. 1, 2 The full report is available here.
As a result of the incident, two officers were demoted. They were the only two officers punished for their actions, even though the reports criticized the handling of the entire event. On May 17, 2013, their ranks were restored. An arbitrator said that their demotions made it look like it the department was trying to blame someone.5
- Independent Board of Inquiry Into the Oakland Police Department March 21, 2009, Incident A Public Report of Findings and Recommendations
- Oakland Police Department March 21, 2009 Incident Frequently Asked Questions
- More than 20,000 honor slain Oakland police SFGate
- Today is the Memorial Service for our four Oakland Policemen by Sandy Berry
Fourth officer shot in parolee's rampage dies Los Angeles Times
Fallen Oakland Officers Honored Today NBC Bay Area
- 2009 shootings of Oakland police officers Wikipedia