Occupy Oakland Reacts to Violence

Té / 12 November 2011

“Following the incident, the scene in Ogawa Plaza was somber as dozens of media members clambered about.”

Nov. 10 marked the one-month anniversary of Occupy Oakland - the political, social, and economic protest and encampment against corporate greed, social inequality and police brutality, which took over Frank Ogawa Plaza, in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.

But instead of a planned birthday celebration, the Occupy camp turned into a somber vigil, after a late-afternoon outbreak of violence turned deadly, resulting in a fight that led to the shooting of a young man just outside the encampment, on the steps of Frank Ogawa Plaza at just before 5 p.m. Thursday.

The victim later died from his injuries, interim Police Chief Howard Jordan confirmed in a press conference.

“This afternoon, we received a call of gunshots, several gunshots,” Jordan said. “When the officers arrived, they found a young man who was later determined to have died from gunshot injuries.”

The name of the victim has not yet been released - pending notification of family - however, it has been reported that the young man stayed a few nights at the encampment and the name "Alex" appears several times on the makeshift memorial to the young man.

The shooting was precipitated by a fight between a group of African-American males, Jordan said.

"During the fight, someone pulls out a gun and fires several rounds into the crowd, striking the victim who subsequently died from his injuries at Highland Hospital,” he added.

Police don’t know who the suspect is, and do not have anyone in custody. The gun has not been recovered. Anyone with information is urged to email OPD at There were “reports that several citizens from [the] Occupy Oakland movement tried to break up the fight,” Jordan added.

Just then, spectators in the crowd started chanting, “turn the lights on” – a reference to the fact that the lights at Ogawa Plaza have been dark for days, ostensibly due to broken circuit breakers.

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