Between six and eight gunshots were fired on the south side of Frank Ogawa Plaza near the Occupy Oakland encampment, followed by screaming from people in the area at 4:59 p.m. One man was shot outside the Tully's Coffee Shop at 14th Street and Broadway.
Police were not in the area at the time.
An ambulance arrived at the scene within a few minutes to treat the victim of the shooting who was already getting treatment from medics at the nearby Occupy camp. The injury appeared to be serious from the beginning with emergency workers performing CPR on the man before he was taken away to the hospital. The unidentified man in his 20s was declared dead after arriving at the hospital.
The mood prior to the gunshots was festive, adding people at the campground were getting ready to have a birthday cake to mark the one month anniversary of the encampment.
That changed dramatically after the shooting as it turned from calm to chaos. Police swarmed Frank Ogawa Plaza and closed off some streets in the area.
NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez reported that two Bay Area photographers covering the story were injured in the melee that followed the shooting. One of the photographers worked at KGO and suffered a cut to his head. He was apparently attacked by members of the Occupy movement who did not want him to videotape the victim. The second photographer who was hurt was from KTVU. Witnesses said Occupiers wrestled him to the ground.
Occupy Oakland protesters told reporters the man who was shot was not part of their camp. They said they didn't recognize him and said the shooting was not Occupy related. In fact, some people on the scene said the man was coming to the area for help and/or protection.
"The person on the ground was not part of the occupation. I can verify that," Shake Anderson, an Occupy Oakland organizer told AP. "This is a street incident. It happens all the time."
BART closed a nearby station for a time following the shooting because there were reports of two people running on to the trains. BART said while the pair was inititally thought to be suspects, they were probably people frightened by the shooting and running to the train to get away. Riders were told they needed to walk to the next station. KCBS said dozens of people walked down Broadway to get to that next stop.
Oakland city council member Desley Brooks told NBC Bay Area that she was praying for the victim. She said she is extremely saddened by the shooting and added this kind of thing is why she has been trying to press the mayor to move the campers out. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan also asked for the campers to leave during a late night news conference,
Protesters said they have been fearing for days that police will eventually move in with another early morning raid to remove them. A tear gas-filled clash between demonstrators and police on Oct. 25 resulted in more than100 arrests.
Mayor Quan allowed the protesters to return to the encampment the day after that raid. The camp has since grown to about 180 tents, according to Oakland officials.
Several city officials, including Brooks, City Council President Larry Reid and Police Chief Howard Jordan came to the scene of the shooting Thursday night.
After learning that Occupy Oakland medics had helped the person who was shot, Reid said, "I appreciate their efforts to help save the life of the victim in this situation."
Reid said although many at the scene insisted the shooting wasn't related to the encampment, it should be part of the larger conversation about the camp. "I think it puts us in a position of having to look at this problem in a more comprehensive manner," Reid said.
There was also an issue with lights in the area where the man was shot and the Occupy camp. Protesters claim the city turned off lights in the area. The city said that the lights were off because the campers tripped a breaker and then refused the city access to fix the breaker.
Thursday night the lack of lights hindered police as they tried to collect evidence following the shooting.
A number of protesters at the crime scene chanted, "Turn the lights on," saying that the darkness leads to more crime. Others lit candles all around the scene of the shooting, and one man sat cross-legged and meditating near the police tape, according to Bay City News.