Oakland firefighters become targets of retaliation after finding backpack with guns
OAKLAND, Calif. - A fire station in the Oakland hills would seem to be an unlikely spot for a confrontation over guns, let alone one in which firefighters were threatened.
"It's unfortunate when violence or threats come home to us in the firehouse," said Zac Unger, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 55.
It all began Thursday afternoon when an Oakland firefighter, who was driving his personal truck, saw two men dumping something in a spot off Skyline Boulevard near Grass Valley Road.
The men spotted the firefighter, got into a car, and started chasing him. They tailgated the man's vehicle and pulled alongside him. The firefighter slammed on his brakes, and the car drove off.
He went back to the dumpsite and found a backpack with two loaded guns inside. Both were 9mm semiautomatic Glock handguns with extended magazines.
The firefighter took the guns back to the fire station. But the same men from before pulled up to the station and began threatening him and other firefighters.
The suspects took photos of license plates of firefighters' personal cars. They also threatened to find where the firefighters lived and said they would kill them and their families.
Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman said some of the firefighters locked themselves inside the fire station.
"The firefighters, they protected themselves, went inside the firehouse, made sure the firehouse was secure, called law enforcement," Freeman said.
Oakland police rushed to the scene, but the men had already left. The firefighters emerged from the incident shaken, but unhurt.
"Nothing or no one's going to scare them from executing their sworn duties as firefighters for our great city," Freeman said.
Gentry Eagleton of Oakland drove near the dumpsite as he made his way to pick up an Uber rider.
"They were real brave to hold their ground and still keep the guns and stuff," Eagleton said. "Big respect to them for sure."
"At the end of the day our firefighters took some guns off the street, and that is a credit to them, and a credit to their bravery, and it's a shame that that resulted in threats made to them," Unger said.
Oakland police said Tuesday that no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.