I cannot verify the exact source of this letter but it is definitely worth posting as it has a powerful message.
Thought you guys would be interested in a group email I received from an off-duty Oakland cop that responded to the incident: Share it with whomever
On Saturday March 21, I was training at the Academy, coincidentally with some aspiring police officers who are currently in an academy. At about 130pm or so I received a phone call. I looked down at my caller ID and saw that it was my sergeant. I thought to myself, Iâ€™m getting called out again.. (Iâ€™m in a specialized unit that that targets and apprehends homicide and shooting suspects and violent gang members and drug gangs.) It is not unusual that I get called out, given the violence that occurs in Oakland every day. I answer the phone and my boss tells me that Mark Dunakin and John Hege had just been shot and was not looking too good. He told me to round up the unit and get to Oakland immediately and that the suspect was still on the loose.. Just like any police officer under immense pressure and stress, had to comprehend within seconds what had just occurred. As I left the academy I told one of the recruits about the phone call. I told him that this was the worst part about being a cop.
I called up my brother, who is also OPD and was recently promoted to my unit, and told him the situation. I raced to his house, picked him up, and we raced to Oakland. While on hwy 24, my brother called Sgt. Ervin Romans, who he had worked for 2 years prior to coming to my unit. My brother told him that we were on our way and asked Romans were we should stage. Romans told my brother to get to 73 and Macarthur ASAP and that it looked like Dunakin was dead. We continued racing to Oakland when less than 10 minutes later and as we were getting into Oakland, a teammate of ours broadcasted over the radio that it was all bad. He then said that Sakai and Romans were both shot in the head while making entry. My brother responds on the radio, â€œWhat?! Are you sure?? I just got off the phone with Romans!â€ Sadly it was true.
We arrived at 73 and Macarthur and it was complete chaos. Four of my friends and colleagues had just been shot and murdered. Several police officers and citizens are in tears. Everybody is confused and disbelief. Oakland Councilman Larry Reid, who I hope one day makes mayor of Oakland, is crying and visibly shaken. He walks to me, while Iâ€™m holding back tears and an internal rage, and hugs me. Councilman Reid while crying, tells me, â€œDonâ€™t ever forget to watch over each other and take care of each other. When you guys are out here, you are all you have. You must depend on each other to make sure we all make it home safeâ€. And heâ€™s right. In world were people hate the police, we are all we have.
Later, as Iâ€™m leaving the scene, there is a group of about 20 or so on the corner of 73 and Mac. I see many of them laughing, some dancing. They were not hiding the fact that they were celebrating the murder of 4 police officers. The same police officers who many of their friends or families at one time or another may have called the police for help. I hear them making antipolice remarks. While Iâ€™m still in complete shock, an intense feeling of rage builds up inside me. I want to beat these guys to a pulp. But I donâ€™t. Iâ€™m held to a higher standard and I refuse to lower myself to the standards of these pathetic excuse for human beings.
We are not all perfect. People fail to realize that police officers are humans and make mistakes. A mistake that one cop makes should not be a reflection of the entire law enforcement community. What kind of world would we live in if we believed that every person that lives in Oakland or other cities was a criminal?
What I love about Gracieâ€™s Academy is how its made up of people of different backgrounds and different walks of life. How we all can come together for the love of the sport and friendships. How we meet and develop friendships with people that would not normally meet in any other environment. That is why I feel comfortable sharing this story.
I tell this story to you guys to share what a fellow companion of some of you that I have met and have developed friendships with had experienced this weekend. I also tell this story to spread the legacy of the four fallen heroes and their story of the ultimate sacrifice. To many of you that train at Gracieâ€™s that are either police officers or aspiring police officers, have to think â€œthat could have been meâ€. I had worked for, worked with, was friends with the four men killed on that day. They were fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friendsâ€¦they were great cops but most importantly incredible human beings. John Hege and Mark Dunakin were heroes for coming in contact with this incredibly violent, pathetic excuse for a human being. They were heroes. Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai wanted to be the first to make entry into the house where the suspect had barricaded himself to face the monster that had just taken the lives of two of our own. Also knowing the danger that they were facing, knowing this monster was in there armed with a gun. They were both shot in the head, They were heroes. This is a horrible time for many of us, but they should not be forgotten and should always be remembered for making the ultimate sacrifice in making the streets safer for our children, parents, grandparents, friends, and loved ones. I hope some of you pray for them and their families.
Many of you guys roll and train among men and women that wear a uniform and risk their lives every day to make our streets safer. Always remember and pray for your training partners that are military, fireman, and police officers. They may one day have to sacrifice their lives to help you, your loved ones, or someone you know.
I donâ€™t expect many of you to read this entire story, but I hope it reaches at least some of you. I hope to roll with you guys soon.
For those who are interested, services will be held this Friday at the Oakland Oracle Arena at 11am. Hope to see my fellow police officers in Class A’s on Friday.