Oakland, CA – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Protective Services Officer Dave Patrick Underwood was murdered Friday night, after he was fatally shot while protecting a courthouse during the anti-police riots.
The incident occurred at about 9:45 p.m. on May 29 at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building located on Clay Street, The Mercury News reported.
A vehicle approached the courthouse near the intersection of 12th Street and Jefferson Street and a gunman opened fire on the contract security officers, wounding Officer Underwood and a second officer who were guarding the facility.
The shooter has not been apprehended.
On Saturday morning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Officer Underwood, 53, was killed in the attack, WLS reported.
The second wounded officer remains in critical condition.
“The FBI extends our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, and requests that their privacy is respected during this difficult time,” the agency said, according to WLS.
Investigators believe the officers were specifically targeted by the shooter during the chaotic riots, Interim Oakland Police Chief Susan Manheimer told WLS.
DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said that the attack was nothing less than an assassination.
“An assassin cowardly shot two federal protective contractors as they stood watch over a protest,” Wolf said on Saturday.
Acting DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said that the attack on the officers qualified as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
“Let me be clear, when someone targets a police officer or a police station with the intention to do harm and intimidate, that is an act of domestic terrorism,” Cuccinelli said, according to WLS.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oakland police are jointly investigating the incident, KRON reported.
But California Governor Gavin Newsom warned citizens on Saturday not to assume that Officer Underwood’s murder had anything to do with the riots, the San Francisco Gate reported.
“No one should rush to conflate this heinous act with the protests last night,” Newsom declared.
Thousands of people turned out to protest the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died after being arrested by Minneapolis police on May 25.
The officers were shot less than half a mile from the riot happening in front of the Oakland Police Department headquarters where protesters were shooting fireworks and hurling bottles and other projectiles at Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, The Mercury News reported.
The protest, which began at 8 p.m., had grown into a riot by 9 p.m.
Police declared an “unlawful assembly” at about 9:30 p.m. and deployed more tear gas to try and break up the riot, The Mercury News reported.
But the protesters did not stop rioting and go home.
Instead, they tore through the city of Oakland, ripping plywood off of boarded-up buildings and smashing windows, The Mercury News reported.
Police deployed additional tear gas and light-sound distraction devices (flashbangs) in an attempt to disperse the rioters but only succeeded in spreading the mayhem into other areas of the city.
In addition to the federal officers who were shot, six Oakland police officers were injured during the riots on Friday night, the New York Post reported.
Twenty-two arrests were made during the chaos, according to the San Francisco Gate.
Sixty suspected looters were also detained, police said.