Witness saw woman point gun before being shot by police

A woman pointed a revolver at a man pulling into the parking lot of a storage facility in West Oakland just before she was shot dead by Emeryville police on Tuesday afternoon, according to a witness.

Russ Whitehead, 65, was cleaning glass out of his car this morning after police gunfire shattered all of the windows of his Ford Focus when they shot the woman, who had allegedly fled after stealing from a business nearby.

He was pulling into the Extra Space Storage facility at 3406 Hollis St., just over Oakland’s border with Emeryville, early Tuesday afternoon when he heard a woman screaming frantically behind him.

Whitehead couldn’t see her well as she was coming behind him, and couldn’t make out what she was yelling. His partner was in a separate car directly behind him and as she approached, she pointed a revolver at the man’s face, Whitehead said.

His partner threw the car in reverse and drove away from the woman, but Whitehead was blocked from fleeing that way. He then heard police arrive and yell commands at the woman:

“The next thing I know there were bullets flying and there were bullets going through my car.”

He ducked to the floor of the car, suffering only some minor scrapes from the shattered glass. Emeryville police said they found the woman while investigating reports at 12:35 p.m. of a theft at a shopping center in the 3800 block of Hollis Street, where a Home Depot is located.

The caller reported that the combative theft suspect was armed, according to police. Police said when they found the woman just over the Oakland border, she was carrying a gun and they opened fire. Police would not say whether the woman fired any shots or if she pointed the gun at the officers.

They also did not disclose how many officers opened fire or how many shots they fired. Neighbors in the area said they heard about seven shots.

Once the shooting was over, Whitehead said the woman’s body lay next to the driver’s side door of his car. He had to step over it as police escorted him away from the car. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they recovered the gun she was carrying there. Her name has not been released.

Just as after the recent deaths of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer and Eric Garner by a New York police officer have drawn protests, about 100 protesters gathered at the scene of the police shooting Tuesday night, according to police.

Whitehead said as he returned to pick up his car from the storage facility, he was confronted by the protesters, some of whom yelled threats and profanity at him and would not allow him to move his car.

The protesters later marched into Emeryville, where they smashed the windows of the Home Depot, according to police. The shooting is being investigated by the Oakland police homicide section, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and Emeryville police.

Emeryville police said some of their officers have body cameras but did not say whether the officers involved in the shooting had them. While Oakland police have not had a shooting involving an Oakland police officer in about 20 months, the woman’s death is the third suspect shot in Oakland by an officer with an outside agency since August.

On Aug. 3, 23-year-old Jacorey Calhoun was shot and killed by an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy after a pursuit that ended in the area of 105th and Edes avenues.

On Dec. 7, San Leandro police shot and killed 27-year-old Guadalupe Manzo-Ochoa when she allegedly tried to ram her way out of a cul-de-sac in the 9800 block of Springfield Street after police chased her there from San Leandro.

Anyone with information about Tuesday’s shooting has been asked to contact the Oakland police homicide section at (510) 238-3821.