TGIM (Thank God it’s Monday)
Mournful calm follows Oakland firestorm
It was early Saturday afternoon, and Curtis Mixon was talking with his 26-year-old nephew. Lovelle Shawn Mixon had called on a cellphone from his newly purchased 1995 Buick as he drove through east Oakland.
"Vel said the police was pulling him over," the 38-year-old medical records clerk recalled Sunday. "He said, ‘I just pulled over.’ "
Mixon told his uncle he would have to call him back.
He never did.
According to authorities and witnesses, Mixon opened fire as two motorcycle officers stood behind his car, apparently checking his papers. He had been released from prison in November and was wanted for an alleged parole violation.
Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, died despite a citizen’s efforts to revive him.
Officer John Hege, 41, was taken to Highland Hospital, where he was declared brain-dead Sunday.
"He wanted to be an Oakland policeman. I think that’s what he most wanted to do," Hege said.
He had served nine months in prison for identity theft, forgery and grand theft before being released in November. According to state prison officials, Mixon missed a mandatory meeting with his agent last month and was deemed a "parolee at large." A warrant was issued for his arrest.
Willard Anthony Bradley stabbed a police dog before advancing on officers, police said. Bradley was pronounced dead at the scene.
The police dog, an 8-year-old German shepherd named Earp, was rushed to a veterinary clinic, bleeding profusely from deep wounds in his neck.
The incident began when a woman called police saying that her husband had a knife and was threatening suicide. When police arrived, the man announced that he had killed his wife and planned to kill the police, according to Lt. Terry McManus of the department’s homicide unit.
Police Chief Bill Lansdowne was at the clinic as the police dog underwent emergency surgery. The dog was within weeks of being retired from the K-9 corps.
"It was close there, but he’s going to make it," Lansdowne said. "I’m going to give him a medal."
Veterinarian Rob Tugend said Earp was near death when he arrived at the clinic in the back of a police car with its lights flashing and siren blaring.
"He was pretty far gone, a couple more minutes and we’d have lost him," said Tugend, who is the Police Department’s veterinarian and has treated Earp during his years with the department.
Transfusions provided blood and fluids to the dog while the blood vessel was stitched up and the bleeding finally stemmed, Tugend said.
About eight hours after surgery, Earp was released to his handler, Sgt. Jeff Havin. A follow-up visit is planned for today, Tugend said.
The next day, a second gas company employee was gunned down outside his Pomona home as he was preparing to leave for work.
"We don’t know what he was thinking," said Sgt. Tim Schmidt, adding that detectives believe the man could have been planning to harm additional Southern California Gas employees. "We were shocked."
Phong Thuc Tran, 36, of Fountain Valley was found with a gunshot wound to the head about 1:30 a.m. Thursday after an officer driving by spotted Tran’s silver Toyota RAV4, Schmidt said.
Tran was taken by ambulance to UCI Medical Center, where he was said to be alive "but was not expected to survive," Schmidt said.
Three handguns were recovered inside the vehicle, but police had not determined which, if any, were used in the attacks.