Just hours after Oakland, California, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong held a news conference on Monday to slam city officials for cutting the police budget as crimes surge in the municipality, a news crew interviewing the director of the Department of Violence Prevention were the victims of a robbery attempt in broad daylight.
Two armed men approached the NBC Bay Area news crew at 3:09 p.m. and reportedly tried to steal a camera before a security officer pulled a gun and ordered the suspects to leave.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported the men fled, no arrests were made, and no one was injured.
Ironically, the money cut from the police budget is being diverted to the Department of Violence Prevention:
A statement from the Police Department described the incident but did not identify Guillermo Cespedes, head of the city’s Department of Violence Prevention, as a victim.
Cespedes told the Chronicle he was at the scene of an attempted robbery on Monday, and a police watch commander confirmed he was being interviewed when the crime occurred.
Oakland created its Department of Violence Prevention in 2017, with an ambitious goal: decrease homicides by 80 percent over three years. The city tapped Cespedes to run the department in 2020, months before gun violence began rising at a staggering rate — a sudden unraveling after five years of progress.
“Our colleagues were conducting an interview at Oakland City Hall when they were approached by two armed individuals,” Liza Catalan, a spokesperson for NBC Bay Area, said in the Chronicle report. “Thankfully our colleagues are safe and unharmed.”
As of this week, Oakland has recorded 65 homicides — nearly double from this time last year.
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