Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle, May 5, 2009
The man who gunned down four Oakland police officers had robbed and raped two women at gunpoint earlier the same day as they set up a food cart in East Oakland, police said Monday.
Authorities are not sure whether Lovelle Mixon, 26, shot the two motorcycle officers who pulled him over on a March 21 traffic stop because he feared police would link him to the rapes. Mixon fled after the initial shootings to his sister’s nearby apartment, where he killed two more officers with a high-powered rifle before being shot to death.
Police said earlier that Mixon was tied through DNA to the Feb. 5 rape of a 12-year-old girl in the East Oakland neighborhood where Mixon lived and where the officers were shot to death. The department was notified of the genetic match in that case the day before the killings.
On Monday, investigators said a state laboratory had confirmed that Mixon’s DNA matched that of the man who raped two women the morning of March 21.
The victims were attacked at 5:40 a.m. as they set up a cart from which they sold food to day laborers at High Street and International Boulevard, police said.
Thomason said Mixon approached the women, ages 21 and 23, and pulled a handgun–possibly the semiautomatic pistol used to kill the two motorcycle officers seven hours later, police said.
Mixon was on parole at the time of his death, having served time in prison after being convicted in 2002 of assault with a deadly weapon during a robbery in San Francisco.
Since shooting the police officers, Mixon has been linked to a Feb. 21 home-invasion robbery in Modesto in which a gun, cash and gems were stolen. Mixon and another man ransacked the house, pistol-whipped a man and assaulted a woman, authorities say.
Mixon is still being investigated in as many as five other rapes committed in his East Oakland neighborhood in the months before the officers were shot. All the victims of those rapes were attacked in the early-morning hours.
Investigators have suggested that if Mixon committed the string of sex crimes, it may explain why he opened fire on motorcycle officers Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and Officer John Hege, 41, after they pulled him over at MacArthur Boulevard and 74th Avenue.
Irregularities with license
The officers were about to arrest Mixon during the stop after they discovered irregularities with his driver’s license.