OAKLAND (KRON) — Alameda County District Attorney’s office on Thursday announced the arrest of Anthony Sims in connection with the Oakland murder of Chyemil Pierce, the mother of three who was struck by a stray bullet while shielding her young children.
Sims, 19, has been charged with murder and various firearm counts for the killing of Chyemil Pierce, 30.
On Monday at around 4:45 p.m., Pierce was on her way home after picking up her children, ages 7 and 9, from Vincent Academy Charter School when a gunfight erupted in the 2900 block of Chestnut Street.
“My heart is burning for the loss of the life of a young mother and for her children, who will grow up without their mother,” Oakland City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney said.
McElhaney said she has been told the shooting occurred after a group of young women began fighting on the street and young men joined the fray and opened fire.
West Oakland residents are criticizing police for not responding to earlier calls about the violence in their neighborhood. One resident reported called police at 4:32 p.m., warning dispatchers of the loud argument spiraling out of control roughly 13 minutes before the first shots were fired.
“They asked me if there were weapons, and I answered honestly that I did not know — but I had reported gunfire there two days earlier,” said
the resident, who lives nearby and did not want his name published because he has concerns for his safety.
“Retribution happens and I have no faith in the city government or the Police Department to have my back if I’m put in someone’s crosshairs,” the resident said. “That’s what we’re dealing with in Oakland.”
Oakland police spokesman Officer Frank Bonifacio said the first call about the shooting came in at 4:45 p.m. and the first unit was on scene
by 4:49 p.m.
“People have to understand that we prioritize the calls, so a call of someone making noise and fighting verbally may not be as much a priority
as someone escalating to physical fighting or weapons,” Bonifacio said.
That leaves some neighbors concerned that the only way to get a timely police response is by lying to dispatchers.
“If you really want OPD to show up, you tell them you saw a weapon,” the unnamed resident said. “That’s really terrible, because it increases the odds of police shooting an unarmed person. It could lead to another tragedy if the system isn’t fixed.”
The residents and Bonifacio all seemed to agree that Oakland police officers have a difficult job to do with limited resources, but the resident said he wants dispatchers to inform callers when they won’t be able to dispatch officers to the scene of a low-priority call for service, so at
least they know there’s no help coming.