OAKLAND (AP) — A 19-year-old man was arrested and charged with the murder of a young Oakland mother who was shot to death while shepherding her children to safety in the midst of a gunbattle, authorities said Thursday.
Anthony Sims was taken into custody at Highland Hospital after witnesses and Sims’ statements to police showed he participated in the gunbattle Monday in the gritty west Oakland neighborhood, authorities said.
Chyemil Pierce, 30, was hit by a stray bullet after she screamed at her son and daughter to take cover behind their home.
Residents of the neighborhood have complained about lack of police response to reports of trouble before Pierce was killed and say a neighbor called police 13 minutes before Pierce was shot, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The neighbor warned the 911 dispatcher that a dispute was escalating near a home that had been visited numerous times by police. The newspaper did not name the caller.
Police didn’t respond to the neighborhood until reports of shots fired were received several minutes later, the newspaper said.
Oakland police say the initial 911 call was considered routine and officers didn’t respond because there was no mention of weapons.
Police raided the house on Nov. 4, and water service and electricity have been shut off. Neighbors allege that people still live there and openly deal drugs, the newspaper said.
“It remains a project that we’re working on and a source of complaints in the neighborhood — as recently as the day the shooting occurred,” Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent said.
Whent said the city attorney is working along with police to address issues involving the home.
Real estate records show the house is owned by a trust of an elderly woman who died in 2013. Her relatives couldn’t be reached for comment by the Chronicle.
“People are dying. Nobody cares,” Joe Russack wrote in an email. He lives nearby and said neighborhood residents have filed hundreds of reports, given authorities descriptions, license plates and addresses — anything to help.