OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – 12-years-ago, a traffic stop of a parolee with a no-bail-warrant for his arrest leads to the shooting deaths of four Oakland police officers.
The incident stands as one of the deadliest shootings of police in the country and the deadliest day for the Oakland Police Department.
Oakland’s new police chief LeRonne Armstrong was a rank-and-file officer that day in March 2009.
As the anniversary of the deadly day looms, KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun spoke with Chief Armstrong in a one-on-one exclusive virtual interview you will only see here.
March 21, 2009, is a day that the city of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department will never forget.
It is when three police sergeants and one OPD officer were gunned down by a wanted felon.
“It is one of the responsibilities as a chief now that weighs on you every day. The possibility that something like this could happen,” Chief LeRonne Armstrong said.
As the 12th anniversary of the solemn event draws near, Chief LeRonne Armstrong shares his thoughts about the deadliest day in the history of the Oakland Police Department.
“I have a picture in my office of the day of the funeral. It is a constant reminder of the devastation that you feel when you experience such a tragedy. A loss to families. A loss for loved ones. A loss for friends. A loss for our community,” Armstrong said.
“I was not originally on duty that day but I received a call for an emergency response and I responded as the incident was continuing to evolve. I did respond to the scene and just remember such sadness,” he continued.
“I knew Mark Dunakin the best. He was first on the scene on March 21st,” Father Jayson Landeza said.
Oakland Police Department Chaplin Father Jayson Landeza recalls being at Highland Hospital when he received that heart-wrenching call.
“What I remember most is when I was at Highland we were listening to the department radio and then we heard, in Oakland police code, 940B which means send all units. As you bring this up Haaziq it brings back to that day itself and, there isn’t a moment where many of us associated with events of those times don’t feel some profound emotions about what we experienced that day,” Landeza said.
“It’s difficult for all of us. I have been a Roman Catholic Priest for 33-years and. It is always difficult for us to explain the sudden loss of life and whether there is any rhyme or reason to it. It is always a continuing reminder of the fragility of life. For me it’s always a sense of my life and the lives of my loved ones could be taken at any time and so, being able to express that love and be present to our loved ones in a way that reflects the fragile nature of us all. Also be reminded that there are members of our community who make sacrifices on behalf of the community, who in essence, lay their lives down for the protection and well-being of our community. Those losses need to be recognized and remembered too,” Landeza continued.
On Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong’s watch they will be remembered.
“Sergeant Ervin Romans. Sergeant Daniel Sakai. Sergeant Mark Dunakin, and Officer John Hege. All 53-names on the wall who have made the ultimate sacrifice, they are always members of the OPD family and will be honored by this department and the city of Oakland,” Armstrong said.