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A newspaper photographer on assignment in the San Francisco Bay Area was robbed at gunpoint.
The photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle was robbed of two cameras around 3:30 p.m. Friday in the 1400 block of Fifth Street in West Oakland, according to the newspaper, citing an Oakland police spokesperson. Multiple suspects fled the scene in a vehicle, leaving the photographer uninjured.
“Any incident in which a person is robbed of their possessions at gunpoint is incredibly troubling,” Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said in a statement published Friday. “We are relieved that our colleague was not physically injured. We are a part of this community, and we will not retreat from providing the news and information it needs.”
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The incident occurred as the San Francisco Bay Area is still reeling from the death of an armed security guard who was shot and killed while protecting a news crew covering a recent smash and grab robbery.
Kevin Nishita, a former police officer working as an armed guard for Star Protection Agency, was shot in the abdomen during an attempted robbery of KRON-TV’s camera equipment near downtown Oakland on Nov. 24. He died from his injuries days later.
Oakland Police Department vehicles (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Still, no arrests have been announced in the case.
The KRON-TV crew was covering a recent robbery where a group of thieves broke in and stole from a clothing store – part of a rash of organized retail theft in the region. Downgraded shoplifting laws in California have made theft of goods $950 or less only considered a misdemeanor.
San Francisco’s progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin is facing a second recall effort, as at least two prosecutors have resigned from his officer, citing his lack of commitment to prosecuting violent crime.
Law enforcement in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California have also blamed the state’s zero bail policy, as repeat offenders arrested in shoplifting incidents are often let back on the streets.
Back in March, the California Supreme Court ruled that judges in the state must consider a suspect’s ability to pay when setting bail prices – in effect allowing indigent defendants to go free, pending further legal action, unless they are deemed too dangerous, according to The Associated Press.
Nishita’s family made another public plea on Friday for anyone who may have recorded the shooting on their cell phones to please come forward and hand over that footage to the Oakland Police Department. A reward of $32,500 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case.
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Oakland police have released a photo taken from surveillance footage showing the vehicle the suspect was driving – a white 2004-2008 Acura TL with no front license plate. Nishita, who began his career in law enforcement in 1993 with the Oakland Housing Authority Police Department, later serving as an officer in San Jose, Colma and Hayward, will be honored at a memorial service next week, Mercury News reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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