A Federal Protective Service officer was shot and killed Friday night in Oakland, California, during the riots over George Floyd’s death, the FBI said Saturday morning.
In a statement, the FBI the shooting occurred at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in downtown Oakland. A vehicle pulled up to the building and a suspect fired gunshots at security officers outside the building, the FBI said.
The shooter hit two contract security officers, with one dying from his injuries. The second officer was wounded, but the FBI did not list his injuries.
The FBI said it is working with the Oakland Police Department on the investigation.
Federal Protective Service officers prevent and protect terrorism and criminal acts threatening government infrastructure and buildings. It is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Oakland’s interim police chief Susan Manheimer released a statement calling for demonstrators to remain peaceful and lawful.
“They started out peaceful, and we stood with our community here in the city of Oakland to provide safe spaces and respectful spaces for demonstrators,” the statement said. “What we saw later in the evening turned violent and disruptive.”
All told, 22 people were arrested in Oakland with 18 arrested by local police and four by other agencies. In addition, authorities detained 60 looters for further investigation.
Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli called the shooting an “an act of domestic terrorism.”
“There are currently threats by some to attack police stations and federal buildings,” he said during a press conference Saturday. “That violence will not be tolerated.”
“We’re also committed to ensuring that it won’t succeed anywhere, and let me be clear, when someone targets a police officer or a police station with an intention to do harm and intimidate that is an act of domestic terrorism,” Mr. Cuccinelli continued.
Lewis Schiliro, a former head of the FBI’s New York field office, said the investigation could become a terrorism probe because the attack occurred at a federal building.
“A life lost is a priority, but coupled with that, someone attacked a federal building,” he told The Washington Times. “That goes to the heart of the government and its institutions. That raises the bar on whether future attacks are planned.”
“If it was a group that planned this, there could very well be a terrorism charge along with the homicide charge,” Mr. Schiliro continued.
Mr. Schiliro said investigators’ first steps will be to examine camera coverage in the area where the shooting occurred.
Authorities will pull video images from federal, state, and local cameras in an effort to identify the car, capture the image of a license plate or the individuals inside the vehicles, he said.
“The first thing they are looking for is any camera coverage of the area,” he said. “Federal buildings generally have state-of-the-art video surveillance. That is going to be the most critical.”
Simultaneously, investigators will look for witnesses, although Mr. Schiliro acknowledged that it may be difficult to find witnesses among the chaos of the riots.
“It was a difficult time, whether that will be fruitful or not, I don’t know,” he said.
Mr. Schiliro said other steps in the investigation include searching for forensic evidence such as tire tracks and bullet casings. He also expects officers to examine intelligence reports, including any talk of a planned attack on a federal building.
“Intelligence is going to play a big role in this,” he said