OAKLAND - Rudolph "Rudy" Henderson, who at one time was considered one of Oakland's most powerful narcotics dealers, was shot to death Saturday, while sitting in a vehicle outside a North Oakland restaurant.
Two other people with him were not injured, police said. They drove him to Alta Bates hospital in Berkeley, where he died at 4:43 p.m. He was 57.
Nicholas and I were playing a game with our neighbors when we heard multiple cracks, like a short string of something larger than firecrackers, perhaps a block away. We were moderately alarmed, but later when we saw the police action down at the end of the street, we realized it had been a shooting.
All day yesterday, we wondered whether this was random violence or something targeted. Each asks for a different response. Finding out it was a man who had some power on the wrong side of the law puts my heart to some ease. I'm learning so much about what the real risk factors are in this area. People who are young black males are being killed in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and elsewhere in the Bay Area at an alarming rate. Surgical strikes like the one on Saturday are far less common. Light skinned people aren't being killed.
We've been talking about what we can and should do. We're taking steps to have a street meeting. I've been talking with some of the "old guard," and they are nearly universally discriminatory towards the young people on the street, whose biggest "crime" is that they live their lives out in their front yards. I'm concerned for these young kid's safety. They aren't doing drugs or breaking into houses. Perhaps a community meeting can be useful for creating trust and understanding among all of us living here.
Then we can address things like keeping the real criminals away.