- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Parolees like the one who killed three Oakland police officers and left a fourth brain-dead over the weekend must be tracked and restricted more aggressively, state Attorney General Jerry Brown said Monday.

The former Oakland mayor said he will examine how 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon was monitored following his release from prison in November on a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Mixon also was a suspect in a murder last year but was never charged, according to state prison officials.

“Mixon was certainly a character that needed more supervision,” Brown said. “In Oakland, the highway patrol has an office there, sheriff and police. And all those agencies should have a list of the more dangerous, threatening parolees so they can keep a watch on them.”

Problems involving parolees from California’s overcrowded prison system have long beset state officials who must monitor them, as well as local officials who try to keep streets safe and federal authorities who enforce firearms and other laws.

Mixon was one of 164 Oakland parolees in mid-March who had outstanding arrest warrants for parole violations, state prison records show.

The city of 400,000 had more than 1,900 total parolees at the time, including nearly 300 who had been returned to custody or whose parole was about to be revoked. Statewide, almost 17,000 of the nearly 125,000 parolees were wanted for violating their parole requirements, state records show.

Mixon shot two motorcycle officers who had stopped him Saturday afternoon. Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, was killed; Officer John Hege, 41, was declared brain-dead and remained on life support Monday.

Mixon then fled to what his family said was a younger sister’s apartment around the corner. When a SWAT team stormed the apartment, Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, were gunned down before officers fatally shot Mixon.

Mixon’s relatives said he was upset that he was unable to find work and feared he would be arrested for a parole violation. California prison records show that authorities issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to make a mandatory meeting with his parole officer Feb. 19.

Police have not said why he had been pulled over, but relatives who talked to him on his cell phone just before the traffic stop said he was looking for a parking space.

How someone could take down armed veteran officers with such lethal efficiency is a focus of the police department’s investigation. Experts said officers know traffic stops carry clear dangers.

“Motor(cycle) officers are at a tremendous risk. A police vehicle at least provides you with a modicum of cover,” said Dave Smith, a retired Arizona police officer who leads seminars on police street survival.

The SWAT team had little choice but to try to take the suspect by force, experts said.

“They knew this was a killer who hadn’t hesitated to kill uniformed police officers,” said Joseph McNamara, a retired San Jose police chief and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

“The normal SWAT strategy of surrounding, containing, negotiating, trying to resolve the situation without violence has to change once the killing has begun,” McNamara said. “Police strategy then changes to, they must go in.”

How Mixon got the guns used in the shootings, including an assault weapon, has not been disclosed. Officials at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said convicted felons commonly get firearms through burglaries and from straw buyers who purchase them at retail stores or gun shows.

Associated Press writer Juliana Barbassa contributed to this article.

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