Mom mourns son killed in taking pictures in Oakland Chinatown; Homicide Fee Doubles Since 2020 – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A young man was fatally shot and killed just one block from the Oakland Police Department on Monday afternoon. The officers inside could hear the gunshots.
Rhonda Hampton stood on the sidewalk in mourning as officers gathered evidence of the murder of her 22-year-old son.
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Chris Cawthorne is Oakland’s 52nd murder victim in 2021 – a homicide rate more than double that of the previous year and a sign of escalating violence on the streets of East Bay City.
Investigators assume that he died in an alleged, deliberate shooting. His mother wonders why.
“I grew up in East Oakland and I just hate that my son was a victim of what happened to young black men,” Hampton told KPIX 5.
The shooting occurred shortly after 2 p.m. in Oakland’s crowded Chinatown neighborhood.
“There were a number of gunshots that can be heard from the police department,” said Oakland Police Chief Bobby Hookfin.
Cartridge cases were strewn on the sidewalk next to Cawthorne’s white car, where he was found on the passenger side.
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“Several rounds, I think our shot spotter spotted at least 20 shots,” said Hookfin of the severity of the attack.
Family and friends gathered at the crime scene to mourn and comfort one another. In addition to a son and brother, Cawthorne was the father of a two-year-old little girl.
Hampton confirmed to KPIX that their son was suspected of murdering his aunt in San Francisco last June. She doesn’t believe what happened on Monday was retaliation.
Cawthorne was never charged in this case.
“They didn’t have anything to blame or hold on to, so they had to release him,” said Hampton.
Police don’t believe Cawthorne was alone and others may have escaped from the car shortly before the shooting started.
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Police said they were searching the area for surveillance videos and that the investigation is ongoing. Anyone who could have witnessed the shooting is asked to contact the Department’s Homicide Squad at 510-238-3821.