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As Oakland residents paid tribute to the four police officers who were gunned down over the weekend, more details emerged about the parolee responsible for the horrific shootings.

Lovelle Mixon, 26, had been tentatively linked by DNA evidence to a rape the day before Saturday’s shootings, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said Monday night.

Mixon is the primary suspect in an unsolved February rape in Oakland after DNA found at the scene was a probably match to Mixon, Thomason said.

Investigators got that information Friday, the day before Mixon opened fire on the officers following a routine traffic stop.

Thomason said further tests would need to be done on the DNA in question to make sure it is a solid match and to see if there are any connections to other rapes.

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Meanwhile, flowers piled up outside Oakland police headquarters and books brimmed with condolences as mourners prepared for a Tuesday evening vigil where the four officers were gunned down.

Shock from the shootings that killed three officers and left a fourth brain-dead turned to grief as the city tried to come to grips with the violence.

“This is the biggest tragedy ever to hit our department,” Oakland police Sgt. Mark Schmid said. “We’re just numb and walking around like zombies. We feel each other’s pain but we don’t know how to explain it.”

City officials asked mourners to gather Tuesday evening at the East Oakland street corner near where two motorcycle officers pulled over Mixon.

Police say Mixon opened fire, killing Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and leaving Officer John Hege, 41, brain-dead. Hege was still on life support late Monday.

About two hours later, two SWAT team members, Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, were gunned down before officers fatally shot Mixon at what his family said was a younger sister’s apartment around the corner.

The shootings have led to calls for more aggressive tracking of parolees.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will examine how Mixon was monitored following his release from prison in November on a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Mixon also was a suspect in a murder last year but was never charged, according to state prison officials.

“Mixon was certainly a character that needed more supervision,” said Brown, the former mayor of Oakland. “In Oakland, the highway patrol has an office there, sheriff and police. And all those agencies should have a list of the more dangerous, threatening parolees so they can keep a watch on them.”

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Problems involving parolees from California‘s overcrowded prison system have long beset state officials who must monitor them, local officials who try to keep streets safe and federal authorities who enforce firearms and other laws.

Mixon was one of 164 Oakland parolees in mid-March who had outstanding arrest warrants for parole violations, state prison records show.

The city of 400,000 had more than 1,900 total parolees at the time, including nearly 300 who had been returned to custody or whose parole was about to be revoked.

Mixon’s family members said he was upset that he was unable to find work, felt his parole officer was not helping him and feared he would be arrested for a parole violation.

Mixon was wanted for missing an appointment with his parole supervisor.

State prison officials said Mixon’s parole officer was responsible for 70 parolees.

A caseload of that size is nearly unmanageable, and also not unusual, said Lance Corcoran, spokesman for California’s prison guard union, which includes parole officers.

“There is no control,” Corcoran said. “It’s simply supervision, and supervision at distance.”

This is an undated photo released by the Oakland Police Department of 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon. Mixon was killed during a shoot out with police that left three officers dead and one gravely wounded Saturday March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Oakland Police Department)


OAKLAND, Calif. — Police say the fourth Oakland police officer shot on Saturday has died at a city hospital.

Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason says 41-year-old Officer John Hege died Sunday at Highland Hospital after being gravely wounded during a traffic stop.

Authorities say a 26-year-old parolee opened fire on Hege and 40-year-old Sgt. Mark Dunakin after they pulled him over around 1 p.m. on Saturday, killing Dunakin.

Suspect Lovelle Mixon was slain later that afternoon in a gunfight with police that left two more officers dead. Thomason identified those officers as 43-year-old Sgt. Ervin Romans and 35-year-old Sgt. Daniel Sakai.

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Police say the officers’ deaths were the most ever in a single day in the department’s history.


OAKLAND, Calif. — A police officer was battling for his life and three more were dead after a parolee with an “extensive criminal history” opened fire at a routine traffic stop and hours later gunned down members of a SWAT team searching for him.

The gunman was also killed Saturday, capping a day of violence that the Oakland Police Department said was the worst in its history. Never before had three police officers died in the line of duty on the same day.

“It’s in these moments that words are extraordinarily inadequate,” said Mayor Ron Dellums at a somber news conference Saturday night.

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The mayhem began that afternoon, when two motorcycle patrol officers stopped a 1995 Buick sedan in east Oakland, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said. The driver opened fire, killing Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and gravely wounding Officer John Hege, 41.

The gunman then fled on foot, police said, leading to an intense manhunt by dozens of Oakland police, California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County sheriff deputies. Streets were roped off and an entire area of east Oakland closed to traffic.

About two hours later, officers got an anonymous tip that the gunman was inside a nearby apartment building.

A SWAT team had entered an apartment to clear and search it when the gunman shot them with an assault rifle, police said.

Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, were killed and a third officer was grazed by a bullet, police said.

SWAT team members returned fire, killing 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon of Oakland, Acting Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan said.

Officer Hege suffered brain damage and may not survive, his father, Dr. John S. Hege, said late Saturday.

“It is a stunning thing to face,” he said.

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Grieving officers at the police station hugged and consoled each other. People left four bouquets of white roses under a granite memorial wall inside the building lobby that lists 47 officers killed in the line of duty. The wall shows the last officer killed in Oakland was in January of 1999.

Police said Mixon wielded two different weapons. One gun was used at the first scene and an assault rifle was used at the apartment building where he was hiding.

Jordan said Mixon had an “extensive criminal history” and was wanted on a no-bail warrant.

“(Mixon) was on parole and he had a warrant out for his arrest for violating that parole. And he was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon,” said Oakland police Deputy Chief Jeffery Israel.

Police said they did not know exactly why the officers initially stopped the suspect, but said it apparently was a routine traffic stop.

People lingered at the scene of the first shooting. About 20 bystanders taunted police.

Tension between police and the community has risen steadily since the fatal shooting of unarmed 22-year-old Oscar Grant by a transit police officer at an Oakland train station on Jan. 1.

That former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer, Johannes Mehserle, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday. Violent protests erupted on the streets of Oakland in the weeks after Grant’s death, further inflaming tensions.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger planned to fly to Oakland on Sunday from Washington, D.C., to meet with police and Mayor Dellums, the govenor’s office said.

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