College Student Gunned Down in Oakland in Front of Her Child

OAKLAND – A woman who was fatally shot in front of her young son in North Oakland on Wednesday night has been identified as a 21-year-old San Leandro resident, according to Oakland police.

Donitra Henderson was shot near the corner of 54th Street and Shattuck Avenue around 8:40 p.m., police said.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

According to Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan, her 4-year-old son, Joshua, witnessed the shooting. The chief said Thursday that he tried to comfort the child at the scene.

Jordan said the shooting near the corner of 54th Street and Shattuck Avenue at about 8:43 p.m. was “very tragic.”

He said he fears that, “For a 4-year-old boy to witness a shooting like this will be a memory in his mind for a long time. I don’t know how he’ll recover.”

Jordan said police know why the woman was in the North Oakland neighborhood, which is near Children’s Hospital Oakland, but don’t want to release that information at this time.

He said police haven’t arrested anyone in connection with the shooting but will aoon release a description of the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle.

Shootings in that area are “very unusual” and witnesses have been “cooperative” with police because they’re concerned about the incident, Jordan said.

A second woman was with the woman who was fatally shot and sought medical treatment, Jordan said. He didn’t elaborate on the second woman’s injuries except to say that she wasn’t hit by gunfire.

Jordan said he went to the shooting scene because he was working late to help oversee a major operation in which police and FBI agents served warrants at the Acorn housing complex in West Oakland.

He said when he first saw the 4-year-old boy, whose first name is Joshua, he was sitting in a patrol car and playing with an officer’s flashlight.

Jordan said he gave the boy a police sticker and swore him in as a junior police officer.

Another officer later took the boy to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant to get some food, he said.

Jordan said the shooting of the woman in front of her young boy is “very personal” for him because he has young children himself.

The boy is now with other family members, he said.

Henderson was the second woman to be fatally shot in two days. Another woman was fatally shot in the 2400 block of Foothill Boulevard at about 2:43 p.m. Tuesday.

Chief Jordan said it’s “unusual” for women to be homicide victims on consecutive days because most of Oakland’s murder victims are males.

A receptionist at Laney College said Henderson was a student at the Oakland community college. She did not know of any memorial plans on campus being arranged to honor Henderson.

According to Henderson’s LinkedIn web page she had enrolled at Laney College in 2012 and was expected to graduate in 2014.

On her Facebook page — filled with photos of her with her son — she listed she had attended Oakland Technical High School.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said she graduated from the high school in 2010.

(Copyright 2013, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)

2 thoughts on “College Student Gunned Down in Oakland in Front of Her Child

  1. This is my friend and im said …..we graduated together..I dont want to live in oakland ca anymore its time to get out…some one please help us I have lost 7 high school friends in ayear

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