An Oakland, California liquor store owner in violence-besieged Chinatown was arrested for shooting his gun into the air to stop the robbery of a woman in front of his shop.
The arrest stemmed from an incident in which the 36-year-old man shot into the air four times after seeing a woman being violently robbed, prompting the alleged robber to run away with her camera.
The merchant was reportedly bailed out on Tuesday after Oakland Police officers arrested him for felony assault with a firearm.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told reporters on Tuesday:
“We don’t want our business owners or others to begin to arm themselves,”
Armstrong added that there could be unintended consequences when citizens shoot at alleged criminals, such as striking innocent bystanders or creating confusion when officers arrive on the scene and try to identify an assailant.
“We want them to observe and report, and be good witnesses.”
Chinatown Residents Are Tired Of Oakland Police Inaction
Chinatown residents have grown increasingly frustrated and fearful as violent crime escalates.
The increasing violence against Asian Americans has prompted more business owners to arm themselves and enlist volunteer security patrols.
In fact, violent attacks have increased so dramatically in Chinatown as well as other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, that many businesses curtailed their operating hours, even in the lead-up to last week’s Chinese New Year.
In addition to robberies and other crimes targeting property, there has been a series of unprovoked attacks.
These attacks included cases in which elderly residents were knocked to the pavement by young men. In one of those cases, an 84-year-old Thai immigrant was killed.
In another, a 28-year-old black man allegedly shoved a 91-year-old Chinese man to the pavement, then attacked two other people of Chinese heritage on the same block.
A witness to Monday’s incident involving the liquor store owner told the local NBC TV affiliate that residents of the area see little choice other than defending themselves.
“Here in this neighborhood, you get attacked on a 24/7 basis. This is ridiculous. We cannot live under such circumstances every day.”
Chinatown’s Chamber of Commerce has complained that many residents are reluctant to call the police when they see crimes because “nothing happens.”
“So the social worker didn’t get there in time?” one Twitter user said of Monday’s confrontation outside the liquor store. “Glad the other shop owner intervened.”
So.. the social worker didn’t get there in time..? Glad the other shop owner intervened..
— Deplorable Drac 2 (@2_drac) February 16, 2021
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong talks about Monday nights attempted robbery in Chinatown