Oakland Plays Catch And Release With Tween Armed Robbery Suspects

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

If gun control worked to prevent violent crimes, California would be the safest state in the nation. Instead, despite a host of restrictions on buying, selling, and possessing firearms and ammunition, violent crime is surging across the state, and its clear that the state’s draconian gun control laws aren’t doing anything to stop individuals from illegally getting ahold of a gun.

In fact, guns are so widely available on the black market that even kids as young as 11-years old are apparently able to acquire firearms with ease.

Home surveillance video captured intense moments when children tried to carjack a man outside of his San Leandro home on Pershing Drive.

San Leandro police say the suspects approached the victim with a gun, but the victim stopped them when he body-slammed one of the suspects to the ground.

Police say these two suspects were later involved in another attempted carjacking that got four children, ages 11-14, arrested last week.

Not only were the pair involved in a separate carjacking, police say that a few hours before the attempted carjacking was caught on video the two tried to rob another man at an ATM.

As bad as this story is, what happened when police finally caught up to the tween and teen robbers is even worse.

Just a couple of days later on April 13th, Oakland police arrested three juveniles who were involved in an attempted robbery using the same white getaway car.

They were later released to their guardians, only to commit yet another attempted carjacking in San Leandro on Friday.

San Leandro police responded and caught up with the suspects in Oakland.

They arrested an 11-year-old, 12-year-old and two 14-year-olds.

Two of the same suspects were also involved in this incident, and the Chase bank attempted robbery.

That’s right. After they were busted trying to rob someone they were released to their guardians instead of being taken into custody, only to be caught in the San Leandro carjacking a couple of days later.

Not only is this a prime example of California’s gun control laws failing to improve public safety, it’s another piece of evidence showing that the Bay Area’s criminal justice priorities are so screwed up that even violent felonies are treated like minor issues, especially if the perpetrators are juveniles.

I’m not suggesting that an 11-year old needs to be sent away for life. In fact, quite the opposite. I’d like to think that someone this young can actually turn their life around with help, guidance, and supervision, but clearly they’re not getting any of that at home. Even when the state intervened, however, the first impulse was to return these kids back to their home environment, no matter how screwed up it might be.

Why did the Oakland police not take these kids into custody? The city’s in the midst of a surge of violent crime, but the city also continues to be rocked with riots and violence directed at police, including this past weekend when “protesters” set fires and broke windows in the city.

The protest began peacefully with 250-300 demonstrators marching through the streets of downtown Oakland. As the hours passed, splinter groups broke away and began creating mayhem, according to CBS SF Bay Area.

One officer was struck in the head with a bottle, sustaining an injury. Protesters also dragged barriers into the roadway to block and delay police response.

Don’t forget, it was just a couple of months ago that Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said he wanted residents to be “good witnesses” to violent crimes, rather than trying to intervene and help those who are being assaulted or robbed.

Between the tween carjackers who were released back on the streets and the inability or unwillingness to prevent the destruction of businesses, it’s laughable for the chief to argue that residents should just sit back and let the police take care of things when they see a neighbor or a stranger being violently attacked. Thanks to the feckless leadership in the city, even those residents who don’t support the idea of defunding the police have to be fed up and frustrated with the city’s response to violence, which seems to be part of a broader pattern of weak leadership and a lack of direction within Oakland’s government.

These folks should also get fed up with the gun control laws that keep them disarmed while pre-teens are robbing people at gunpoint. Alameda County, home to both Oakland and San Leandro, has one of the lowest rates of concealed carry permits in the state. As of 2014, there were only 170 permits issued in the county, home to 1.6-million people, though I’m sure the demand is much higher, especially these days. Unfortunately, self-defense isn’t seen as a valid reason to carry a gun in Oakland or Alameda County, and an adult who chooses to do so without a license is likely going to be treated more harshly than a juvenile who uses a gun in an armed robbery.

Instead of putting another round of gun control laws on the books, lawmakers in Sacramento should try focusing their attention on those who are committing violent crimes instead of the inanimate object they’re using as a tool. That doesn’t mean you have to treat an 11-year old armed robber as a hardened criminal. It does mean you need to treat him as someone who’s in acute need for intervention and rehabilitation instead of sending him back home with a stern warning. Sadly, it’s both easier and more popular politically in California for Democrats to impose new restrictions on legal gun owners rather than address the real issues that would make Oakland a safer place and maybe even turn that 11-year old’s life in a different direction.

Jul 27, 2021 12:30 PM ET