Homicide spike hits home for many at Fremont

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Kim Mejia-Cuellar

Senior Marcus Robinson lost more than 10 relatives and friends, many to violence,
One of the 10 was his close friend, Mandela High School sophomore Lovell Hadnot, who was killed in January of last year.

“His death made me think that every day, I can be a victim of violence,” said Robinson.

Robinson is only one of many students affected by the 110 homicides that took place in Oakland last year. Those murders marked an increase over the 95 in 2010.

Last year’s tragedies included three young children who were shot and killed, attracting national attention. Five-year-old Gabriel Martinez, Jr., was killed in December near his father’s taco truck on the 5400 block of International Boulevard. Both 23-month-old Hiram Lawrence Jr. and 3-year-old Carlos Nava were killed during gang-related shootings, the Oakland Police Officers Association reported.

Teens are also among the victims. The killer of Castlemont High School senior Ditiyan Franklin was sentenced in November, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Many at Fremont believe more needs to be done to stop the violence in the city, especially among youth.

School security officer Darryl Malone Sr. says schools need to be more involved in curbing violence in Oakland.

“I know we already have some afterschool programs, but we need more,” said Malone. “It gets a lot of kids off the street.”

Robinson agrees that youth need more places to go after school.

“We can stop the violence if we had more jobs and things for people to do, like free programs and sports,” Robinson said.

According to a press release from Mayor Jean Quan, city officials plan to target the most violent 100 blocks in the city. The city will devote more resources and police officers to the area of the city, where they say 90 percent of shootings and homicides occur, Quan said.

Many of the blocks are located within the Fremont attendance boundaries.

Go to www2.oaklandnet.com to see the 100 blocks chosen.