"Catarino Piedra, 41, kept a gun underneath the counter at the Coliseum Pizza and Taqueria that he owned in East Oakland because his drivers had been robbed many times while making deliveries.
Allen Joseph Hicks III, 22, was an accused batterer on probation for a drug conviction and an aspiring rap artist whom everybody in his neighborhood knew as "Boonie."
The lives of the two men intersected tragically at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when Hicks, armed with a pistol and joined by two other men, tried to rob Piedra inside the popular pizzeria at 89th Avenue and International Boulevard. Fearful that the assailants might hurt him, his wife and three children -- all of whom were inside the restaurant -- Piedra pulled out his 9mm semiautomatic pistol and opened fire, killing Hicks, police said.
In the chaos, Piedra may have accidentally shot and wounded his 17-year-old son, who was not seriously injured, police said.
Piedra acted in self-defense and won't be charged with a crime, Alameda County Assistant District Tom Rogers said Friday.
"I was scared," Piedra told The Chronicle in an interview Friday. "I had to defend my family. I was in fear for me and my kids."
He added that he took no satisfaction in taking Hicks' life.
"I wish this never happened," Piedra said. "I don't want anybody, any business to be in this kind of situation, with anybody putting a gun in your face."
Piedra said he has owned Coliseum Pizza for 18 years. The pizzeria used to be on 98th Avenue until it moved to International Boulevard in 2005.
The drama began at 9:37 p.m. when three men walked into the pizzeria. Hicks was armed with a pistol and walked up to Piedra, pointed the weapon at him and said, "This is a robbery," according to police and Piedra.
Piedra said his 17-year-old son, 19-month-old son and 13-year-old daughter were inside the restaurant at the time. Piedra said he was afraid that the assailants would shoot him or hurt his family, a contention supported by Oakland police who nevertheless cautioned against citizens taking direct action against criminals.
"There is definitely a balance," said Officer Roland Holmgren, department spokesman. "This thing had potential -- who knows where the suspects were going to take the situation? But by no stretch of the imagination are we agreeing with or justifying what the owner did."
Holmgren said, "We're not saying that we want citizens to go out there and arm themselves and take the law into their own hands. We want citizens to be good witnesses, to be good report-takers and to identify suspects."
WTF? Well of course he took the law into his own hands.
We ARE the law. The people. The police, you see, are the ones we hire to ENFORCE the law, but they are not the law.
WE ARE. And now our employees believe themselves to be the masters? Did I miss the memo? Was the Constitution changed and someone forgot to email me?
The police are the law?
That's like the garbage men telling us to cut down on trans fats because they've noticed TV dinners in the trash.
Might be just about that time for our employees to get back to working for us, and not the other way around...
Thanks to The War on Guns