An Oakland Chinatown liquor store owner was arrested and bailed out after firing his gun four times to save a woman in her 30s from a violent robbery on Monday.
The 36-year-old store owner faces one count of felony assault with a firearm. He was bailed out on Tuesday at $60,000, the Alameda County Sheriff’s department said, according to KTVU. The investigation into the case is ongoing.
New Oakland Chief of Police LeRonne Armstrong addressed the incident on Tuesday, saying he would prefer residents to call the authorities rather than getting involved, CBS San Francisco reported.
“Our message really is that we don’t want to see our business owners or others begin to arm themselves,” the police chief told reporters. “We would really prefer them to be good witnesses and give us the observations that they have; share that information, call law enforcement immediately and let OPD respond and follow up. What we really don’t want to do is bring any additional issues that threaten safety into the equation.”
OPD update: the department tells me the incident is categorized as an attempted robbery now that they’ve determined “no loss taken”.
Witnesses tell me the suspect made a grab for the woman’s purse and she didn’t let go. pic.twitter.com/IXWv60TqPj
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) February 16, 2021
Armstrong also pointed out the problem authorities may face when they cannot determine who the assailant is when armed citizens intervene. Another issue the police chief raised is the potential injuries when armed citizens fire their weapons in the community.
“Particularly, we don’t want people to fire weapons into our community,” he said. “When weapons are fired in our community, there could be unintended victims; people who are hit by gunfire. And we want to avoid that as much as we can.”
Carl Chan, head of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, spoke to other community members and said they felt sad “that someone is trying to help others and ends up to be the one arrested or being in custody.”
“So, I think many of the people feel strongly that we should be supporting the store owner,” he added.
Robbery in #OaklandChinatown before 6pm Community leader tells me a thief knocked down a woman in her 30’s to steal her camera. Shop owner intervenes, struggles w/ suspect & fires 4 shots . Suspect gets away in vehicle No serious injuries #KTVU pic.twitter.com/bk3BNOLpsE
— Amber Lee (@AmberKTVU) February 16, 2021
Chan continues to appeal for more police patrols in Oakland Chinatown as armed security guards, funded by donations from the community, patrol the streets. However, he fears that without more cops, business owners might have to resort to arming themselves and take matters into their own hands.
“I am so worried because I heard the news that many people are trying to find ways to protect themselves,” Chan said. “And we do not believe that violence against violence is the way to go.”
Feature Image via @AmberKTVU