Reward offered in Teamster-scab homicide probe

A West Oakland woman socializing with friends and a Chicago man whom police said was a replacement worker during the recent garbage strike were among three people fatally shot in a five-hour period that ended early Saturday. Police said none of the killings are connected and no arrests have been made in any of the cases.

The first shooting happened at 11:06 p.m. Friday in the 1100 block of 8th Street in West Oakland where Jacqueline Venable, 40, was socializing and visiting with friends and possibly some relatives, Sgt. James Morris said. Morris said ``they were standing outside enjoying the evening, eating some cake'' when gunshots were heard nearby and a wounded Venable fell to the pavement. No one else was injured. Police said Venable's parked SUV was also hit by gunfire. Venable was taken to Highland Hospital where she died early Saturday. Morris said relatives were too upset to talk to police who were still trying to determine a motive Saturday.

About 12:53 a.m. Saturday police responded to the La Quinta Inn, 8465 Enterprise Way, where they found Byron K. Mitchell, 29, of Chicago, suffering from a gunshot wound.

He was taken to Highland Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Sgt. George Phillips said police believe Mitchell was killed during a failed robbery.

He said police suspect someone knocked on the door of Mitchell's room, tried to rob him when he opened the door and shot him during a struggle.

Nothing was apparently taken from Mitchell, police said.

Phillips said police were told Mitchell had come to Oakland to work as a replacement driver for Waste Management during the recently settled labor dispute between the company and its unionized drivers.

At 4:40 a.m. an unidentified man was found shot to death in the 1200 block of 49th Avenue.

Phillips said it appeared the man had been dead for some time before an anonymous person phoned police to alert them to the body.

He was found on the east sidewalk in front of a vacant business.

Police have no motive for the killing.

The three slayings brought the city's homicide count for the year to 77. Last year at this time there were 83 homicides.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money in each case for information leading to the arrest of the killers. Anyone with information can call police at 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 238-6946.


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