Phillip Long, from Antioch, Calif., leaves flowers at the front entrance of the police station in Oakland, Calif., Sunday. A man wanted for violating his parole killed three veteran police officers and gravely wounded another in two shootings Saturday.AP photo
OAKLAND, Calif. — A police officer shot during a traffic stop has been pronounced brain dead but remained on life support, police said Sunday, retracting an earlier statement that he had died.
Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason announced the death of 41-year-old officer John Hege earlier Sunday but later said that Hege was being kept alive while a final decision was made about donating his organs.
Police said a 26-year-old wanted on a parole violation opened fire on Hege and Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon, killing Dunakin, police said.
Lovelle Mixon, the suspect, was slain later Saturday in a gunfight with police that left two more officers dead. Thomason identified those officers as 43-year-old Sgt. Ervin Romans and 35-year-old Sgt. Daniel Sakai.
Oakland police said never in the department’s history had so many officers been killed in the line of duty in a single day.
The violence began when Hege and Dunakin, both on motorcycles, stopped a 1995 Buick sedan in east Oakland, Thomason said. The driver opened fire, killing Dunakin and gravely wounding Hege.
The gunman then fled on foot, police said, leading to an intense manhunt by dozens of Oakland police, California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County sheriff deputies. Streets were roped off and an entire area of east Oakland closed to traffic.
Around 3:30 p.m. officers got an anonymous tip that the gunman was inside a nearby apartment building. A SWAT team entered the building when the gunman opened fire, police said. Romans and Sakai were killed and a third officer was grazed by a bullet, police said.
Officers returned fire, killing Mixon, Acting Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said.
“It’s in these moments that words are extraordinarily inadequate,” said Mayor Ron Dellums at a somber news conference announcing the slayings.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered flags at the state capitol flown at half-staff Sunday in honor of the slain officers. He arrived in Oakland on Sunday afternoon to meet with Dellums and members of the police department.
Police said Mixon used two different weapons: a gun at the first scene and an assault rifle at the apartment building where he was hiding.