OAKLAND — A food truck worker was shot after he drove his car to chase after the men who robbed him and his wife.
It happened in Oakland’s Fruitvale District on Friday night. Two gunmen robbed the Tamales Mi Lupita food truck located at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and 34th Avenue. The late-celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once featured Tamales Mi Lupita on his show, saying it was his favorite Oakland food truck.
The victims Lucila Picado and her husband said they were working just before 6 p.m. when two men stormed into the truck and demanded money.
“I was just afraid, terrified. I just had my head down. They were pointing the guns at me at the back,” described Picado through a Spanish translator.
Picado said the two gunmen had a rifle and a handgun. She said they took the money and repeatedly hit her husband.
“They started getting frustrated or mad because there wasn’t enough money in there, since the owner comes often, he takes the money,” said Picado.
She said her husband and their 16-year-old son got in a car to follow the robbers to try to write down the license plate number. About half a mile from the food truck on the 3200 block of Davis Street, she said the gunmen fired at least 15 shots from their moving car.
One bullet pierced the windshield and hit her husband in the shoulder. Doctors at Highland Hospital told them it may be more dangerous to remove the bullet. So, the bullet remains in his shoulder.
“When I see my husband, I’m sad because there’s an object inside him that I know is hurting him. And we can’t do nothing about it,” said Picado.
She and her husband were also frustrated because of the repeated robberies and burglaries targeting small Hispanic businesses on Foothill Boulevard in the Fruitvale District.
Oakland police recently announced they would deploy foot patrols and increase traffic enforcement presence in the district.
Police reported they responded to 3,219 robberies citywide from the beginning of the year to Nov. 12. They said robbery is up 35 percent compared to the same period last year.
“I get it, we’re super frustrated with everything that’s happening in the Fruitvale District. Trust me, It hurts all of us as a community,” said Fruitvale business owner Dominic Prado.
Prado reminded people to be good witnesses.
“It’s not worth chasing. It’s not worth fighting back because it’s not worth losing your life. The money, you can replace,” said Prado.
Picado said her home country is safer than East Oakland.
“I am shocked. Mostly because I barely have three months (in this country.) And then if I were to have the opportunity to go back to Nicaragua, I would,” said Picado.
Both Picado and her husband were back at work on Sunday. Her husband said he was managing his pain.