Oakland: Vigil Monday night to mark shooting victim’s life

OAKLAND — A park in the city’s Lakeshore business district will host a vigil Monday evening honoring the life of a 55-year-old man fatally shot over the weekend, and re-open a conversation around gun violence and public safety.

According to authorities, Darius Brazell was waiting for a bus on Lakeshore Avenue at Mandana Boulevard when he was fatally shot Saturday evening. Brazell was pronounced dead at the scene, and a suspect was last seen running west along Mandana.

In a social-media post, Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas decried the latest shooting and noted that it happened beside Mandana Park Plaza, where residents posted multiple signs last month intending to memorialize Black lives.

“We are so saddened by this tragedy and hope for peace and healing for our entire community,” Fortunato Bas said in part, asking mourners to come “with masks (and) physical distancing to mourn the victim and offer prayers to his family, grieve together as a community, and commit to end gun violence.”

Rev. Jim Hopkins, the pastor of nearby Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, said someone texted him Saturday evening with the grim news.

“We decided we needed to call this vigil tonight,” Hopkins said. “The shooting of a 55-year-old man doesn’t fit any curve or paradigm I can think of.”

Hopkins acknowledged that some might have concerns about participation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The homebound can put their shoulder to the wheel of reducing violence in our community, by talking to your city councilperson and voicing your support for Ceasefire,” he said, adding that his church has been a supporter of the program’s intent to intervene among community members to limit cycles of violence.

“It’s a vulnerable program. It does involve the police, and the police have sometimes been part of the problem in our community, but it’s one where police and policing are part of the answer. In all the talk of defunding the police, certainly community programs like this are worthy of support and among those most likely to be impacted.”

Hopkins said he found two Biblical references resonant in the wake of the weekend’s tragedy.

“What’s coming to mind right now is Genesis [1:27], where it is said we are all created in the image of God, with the capacity to learn and grow and love. We are imbued with eternal significance, and our death matters. There’s also Jeremiah 29:7: ‘seek the peace of the city you are in, for in its peace you will find your own.’”

The vigil will begin at 6 p.m.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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Author: George Kelly