Three gang members were charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Kevin Nishita, a former California police officer who was killed while protecting a news crew reporting on smash-and-grab crimes.
"Obviously this has been a very difficult time. He is loved by those who knew him. Nothing brings back your loved one, but people can feel some sense of justice with these arrests," Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told reporters Thursday.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office announced last week that Laron Marques Gilbert, Hershel Hale, and Shadihia Mitchell were charged with murder, attempted robbery, and assault with a firearm. Gilbert is still on the lam, while Hale and Mitchell are in custody.
"Today we need the public’s help locating the third suspect, Laron Gilbert, who is not [in] custody. He is responsible for this homicide as well. We consider this person to be dangerous," Armstrong said.
An Oakland police detective said Gilbert, Hale, and Mitchell are members of a San Francisco street gang, KRON reported. Armstrong did not identify the gang, noting, "we try to not bring any attention to these gangs."
Mitchell was identified as the suspect who pulled the trigger on Nishita.
Nishita was working as a security guard protecting a news crew covering a previous smash-and-grab theft in Oakland when he was shot and killed on Nov. 24 during an armed robbery. He was shot in the abdomen as the suspects targeted the news team's camera equipment.
He previously served as a San Jose police officer from 2001-2012. He left behind his wife, two children and three grandchildren.
"Kevin went above and beyond as a security guard for the Bay Area news crews. He developed true friendships with the teams of the newscasters of each network," Gina Nishita, Nishita’s wife, said earlier this month as she accepted her husband’s Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s citation of courage award.
"For example, we went on vacation, he bought multiple umbrellas and I asked him, ‘why did you buy so many?’ And his response was, so that when they film outside, and it was raining, that he could protect the news crews from the elements. Another time, Kevin drove two hours outside of his way to make sure that the news reporter would reach her home safely that night," she said.