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Police Officer Richard May from the East Palo Alto Police Dept. was killed in the line of duty of today. I met him a few times.
I hate to hear that. Are there any details you can share Debra?
That's sad, especially in EPA, a tough area. Poor guy.
Always hurts to hear a brother or sister in blue go down. My prayers for his family.
Prayers for them here as well.
Brian R. VanCise
My prayers go out to his family as well!
Brian R. VanCise
My brother-in-law runs a restaraunt in PA. He said there were police EVERYWHERE, helicopters, swat teams, and so on, for miles and miles around the Embarcadero/101 bridge where this happened.
I used to deliver newspapers in that neighborhood when I was 12.
They are taking it very seriously around here, which they should, of course.
Sorry to hear this.
EPA (East Palo Alto) has an Boy Scout Explorer program for young men (I don't think there are any females involed) who think they want to be Cops. One of the Explorers was doing a ride along when this happened below is an article from the San Jose Mercury News about the incident which is pretty accurate:
Dusk-to-dawn search ends in capture, arrest
By Kimra McPherson and Mary Anne Ostrom Mercury News
POLICE: GANG MEMBER SHOT OFFICER TWICE, HID NEAR SCENE
The first round of gunfire knocked East Palo Alto police officer Richard May to the ground. But his killer wasn't finished, police say.
Alberto Alvarez, a local parolee and known gang member, allegedly turned back and fired his 9mm pistol a second time, hitting May as he lay on Weeks Street at dusk.
East Palo Alto police gave that disturbing account after a sleepless night of searching for the 23-year-old Alvarez, who authorities arrested after finding him in the back of a Chrysler at a roadblock about 6 a.m. Sunday.
May, an Operation Desert Storm veteran who, his former police partner said, ``always ran to gunfire'' but went out of his way to help troubled youth, got off at least one shot in the chaos, hitting Alvarez in the leg.
But the 38-year-old father of three girls died on the street of a troubled city he had hoped to save from thugs and murderers.
And not more than 15 feet away in May's squad car sat an Explorer Scout who grabbed the police radio and immediately called for help. He later identified Alvarez.
Police called the East Palo Alto 16-year-old a hero. His identity has not been released.
A tense overnight search involving 250 officers from 25 agencies led to the arrest of Alvarez, a known East Palo Alto gang member, shortly before dawn Sunday. Alvarez was found hunched down in the back seat of a white Chrysler that attempted to pass through one of the roadblocks.
With the arrest and the graphic revelations of the shooting, East Palo Alto police officials reacted with anger and tears Sunday, and many residents said they were stunned by such a violent act committed against one of their sworn officers.
``He's a cold-blooded killer,'' East Palo Alto police Lt. Tom Alipio said of Alvarez, who officers said May knew and had a long history of drug and weapons charges. Alvarez, treated for the gun wound to his leg, was booked into San Mateo County Jail. He is expected to be charged with the slaying of May as early as today.
Homicides are not uncommon in East Palo Alto, but May's death is only the second killing of an on-duty police officer in the city's 22-year history. And the unsettling news that a local teenager was at the scene as part of an officially sanctioned ride-along program sent shock waves through the community.
The tragedy unfolded with a 4:30 p.m. call Saturday to respond to a fight at Villa Taqueria, a taco restaurant that was the scene of at least one other infamous homicide, in the 1990s. When May arrived with his young Explorer charge, he spotted a man fleeing from the scene, not far from police headquarters.
After a short chase in the car, May got out and began to run after Alvarez. Police say Alvarez drew his gun and shot the officer, who fell down. East Palo Alto police could not say which round from Alvarez's pistol killed May or how many bullets were fired. May is believed to have fired a single shot, hitting Alvarez in the leg.
Police on Sunday said they believed Alvarez, who has had several addresses in East Palo Alto over the past decade, evaded their long night of searches and roadblocks by hiding out within a block of the scene of the crime. They are interviewing people who may have given him shelter and then a ride in the Chrysler. He was discovered in the car at a roadblock at University Avenue and Sacramento Street at 6 a.m. Sunday.
Police said Alvarez is a member of the violent Sacramento Street Gang and was on parole after drug and weapon convictions.
The Explorer Scout on Sunday was ``doing fine but obviously shaken up over the situation,'' said John Richers, executive of the Pacific Skyline Boy Scouts Council. Although the scout was caught by local television cameras at the scene Saturday night, visibly upset and in tears, police are not identifying him.
During Saturday's incident, the Explorer remained in the officer's car, following police protocol, Richers said. Whether May should have pursued an armed suspect while riding with a minor is ``a judgment call,'' Richers said.
Explorers go on ride-alongs only after completion of a nine-week, intensive program at Caņada College, and Richers said the scout had logged a couple of hundred hours with East Palo Alto police.
Several family members of the slain officer appeared at the police press conference, holding hands and photos of May. In a brief statement, Diana May said of her husband, ``He was a good man; he was a great father. He loved helping others. He loved his girls very, very much.''
May, who joined the East Palo Alto force 18 months ago, lived with his mother and stepfather in Atherton when he worked and commuted home to Orcutt, a small community near Santa Maria.
May had joined the East Palo Alto force after 15 years on the Lompoc force. He had told friends he wanted more of a challenge.
Mark Ward, May's partner when they both worked in Lompoc, said, ``He told me it was a dangerous area and it had a lot of evil people,'' speaking of East Palo Alto.
Three months ago, May escaped injury when bullets whizzed over his head in another shooting incident.
Police officials Sunday openly wept. And in interviews, East Palo Alto teachers and others in the community said they will remember May for his respect and professionalism as he always responded quickly to their calls.
Resident Lucille Strong said she was heartbroken at the news of his death.
May helped Strong's son get into a drug treatment program after he got into trouble. ``He went beyond his duty,'' Strong said of May.
Other killings recalled
Villa Taqueria was the 1992 scene of a brutal shooting committed by a Sacramento Street Gang member. The incident killed a father and wounded his infant son.
East Palo Alto has been struggling for decades to rein in violent criminals who travel to or live in the area. But Ron Davis, a new police chief hired six months ago, has expanded the major crime investigations group, including homicides and working with the FBI to cut down on crime.
The Weeks Street neighborhood appeared eerily calm Sunday, in sharp contrast to the chaos that erupted Saturday night after the shooting.
Cleveland Hall, a longtime Weeks Street resident, said, ``There have been shootings in East Palo Alto before, but none were ever so close to me.''
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
Contributions can be made to the May Family Trust Fund, Account No. 458233826, at the San Mateo Credit Union, 525 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, Calif. 94063.
The Explorer is doing well. There was procession in EPA and everyone of the City's workers is still pretty shaken up by the incident.
Always sad to hear.
My prayers are with his family and friends.
Reading this article reminded me of Officer May. That case is still winding through the courts.
Brother of slain San Leandro cop condemns killer
Irving Ramirez sentenced to death for 2005 slaying
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, August 3, 2007
(08-03) 11:49 PDT OAKLAND -- The brother of a slain San Leandro police officer condemned his killer in court before he was sentenced to death today, calling him a "cop-killing murderer" for shooting him in 2005 to avoid going to jail for having drugs and guns in his possession.
Irving Ramirez showed no reaction as Officer Nels "Dan" Niemi's brother, Jim Niemi, castigated him in a packed Oakland courtroom, nor when Superior Court Judge Jon Rolefson followed the earlier jury decision and formally sentenced him to die by lethal injection.
"Our pain and loss is of such magnitude that what I say today will never encapsulate our feelings," Jim Niemi said. "I just don't know how someone can stand over another human being and fire shot after shot until he's dead. And for what? So to not go to jail for 30 days?"
Ramirez, 25, is the first person to be sent to Death Row in Alameda County for killing a police officer since capital punishment was reinstated in California in the 1970s. He was tried by Alameda County's top prosecutor, District Attorney Tom Orloff.
A jury convicted Ramirez on May 10 of first-degree murder for killing Niemi. The panel also found Ramirez guilty of enhancements for firing a weapon and special circumstances of killing a police officer and killing to avoid arrest.
Outside court Niemi's widow, Dionne, said she was heartened that the jury opted for the death penalty and sent a message that "in this situation, we're not going to tolerate this. "That gives me peace," she said.
"If we got anything less, we would have been cheated," she said, adding now she'll do her best to "just live life. Dan would not want me sitting around and wasting away."
One of Ramirez's attorneys, Deborah Levy, tried unsuccessfully today to urge the judge to sentence her client to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After the hearing, Levy said, "This is such a tragedy all the way around. I just think the death of Irving isn't going to make it any easier. I feel terrible."
Previous defendants convicted of killing law-enforcement officers in Alameda County have received lengthy or life-in-prison sentences as a result of jury verdicts or deals with prosecutors. In one case, a defendant was acquitted.
Niemi was a three-year veteran of the force when he was shot to death July 25, 2005, near Doolittle Drive and Belvedere Avenue. He was the first San Leandro officer killed in the line of duty in nearly 40 years.
Ramirez, whose street name is "Gotti," killed Niemi to prevent the officer from discovering that he was carrying two guns and drugs, Orloff told jurors during the trial. Ramirez had recently been released from jail for violating his probation after a Pleasanton police officer found drugs in his pocket, the prosecutor said.
Ramirez shot Niemi once in the head with a 10mm semiautomatic handgun, then fired six more shots as the officer was on the ground, the jury found. Officers found Ramirez's identification near Niemi, authorities said.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at email@example.com.
My sincere condolences to the family.
Very sad to hear. May he RIP.
Very sad. My condolances to the family. All you LEOs stay safe out there, and thanks for stepping up for us.
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