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Oakland Juneteenth Celebration Turns Streets into War Zone, as Gangs Shoot Each Other

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(TJV NEWS) Several people were injured during a shooting at Juneteenth celebrations in Oakland, California, which authorities have described as a potential ‘mass casualty event.’ The incident occurred at Lake Merritt on Wednesday night, just before 9 PM. At least four individuals were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

The violence erupted after a mostly peaceful Juneteenth celebration that drew around 5,000 people to the lake earlier in the evening. Michael Hunt, spokesperson for the Oakland Fire Department, indicated the number of injured might have increased since his last update at 10:24 PM, according to CBS News.

Authorities received reports of gunfire near Grand and Euclid Avenues around 9 PM, where a large crowd had gathered for an unsanctioned sideshow event. Witness Tamia Robinson told ABC7 News that what initially sounded like fireworks soon turned into multiple gunshots, causing panic. She described how her sister ran to a friend who was lying on the ground.

Another witness, Tamira Robinson from Richmond, expressed her disappointment to KTVU, lamenting the inability to gather as a community without violence. Footage from journalist Jaden Shaul of KTVU and user @1SaltyDorito on X shows the chaotic aftermath, with people fleeing the scene. An Instagram video by user 28madi_ captured a woman kneeling before multiple gunshots rang out, prompting her to flee.

The condition of the gunshot victims remains unknown, and additional injuries were reported. Oakland Police Department’s strategic communications manager, Paul Chambers, noted that the event had been largely peaceful until about 8:15 PM when a sideshow involving motorbikes and vehicles began at Bellevue and Grand Avenues. A fight broke out nearby, and multiple shots were fired around 8:45 PM.

Chambers reported that some officers were struck by the crowd as they tried to ensure safety, with one person arrested for assaulting an officer. Residents have been advised to avoid the area of I-580 at Grand Avenue as the investigation continues.

In a statement, Oakland Police said they are investigating the shooting, which occurred just after 8:45 PM on June 19, 2024, in the 400 block of Grand Avenue. Preliminary findings show that 28 officers and four sergeants were monitoring a crowd of roughly 5,000 people at Lake Merritt. The gathering was peaceful until an illegal sideshow led to a fight and subsequent gunfire.

Several victims were transported to hospitals, some by medical personnel and others by private means. There are no reported fatalities, and the number of injured is still being determined. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting, and it is unclear if there was one or multiple shooters. During the incident, officers were assaulted as they tried to guide the crowd to safety, resulting in minor injuries and one arrest for assaulting an officer.

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and is recognized as America’s Second Independence Day. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed it into law as a federal holiday.

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