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Grand Lake Insurance Salesman Gunned Down Friday Morning at 3661 Grand Ave

This is shocking as it's too close to home. But the guys who did this are still around, so be alert. Also, look around and get to know your neighbors. Some think that by keeping their head down it keeps others away. Nope. Best to keep your head up and observe!

Here's the Oakland Tribune article below:

Killing sends chill through Grand Lake

Insurance agent gunned down inside office in area generally thought safe
By Kristin Bender and Harry Harris, STAFF WRITERS

OAKLAND — The fatal shooting Friday morning of an insurance salesman in his Grand Lake district office has residents and merchants wondering whether the bloodshed usually seen in East and West Oakland is seeping into typically safe areas.
Police said Mark Kharmats, 46, of Oakland was shot about 11 a.m. inside his Cal West Insurance office at 3661 Grand Ave. He was rushed to Highland Hospital Oakland, where he died a few hours later.

Witnesses said they saw two men running from the two-story office building where the shooting occurred, but no one had been arrested as of late Friday.

Police are unsure of a motive and said nothing appeared to have been taken from Kharmats' office. He had moved to the building about a year ago from another office on Grand Avenue.

Police said they understood Kharmats specialized in selling policies to clients who otherwise could not get insurance.

The slaying brought this year's homicide total in Oakland to 29 — more than double the number at this time last year.

It also rattled residents and merchants in an area known more for its upscale restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and crowded coffeehouses than for violence.
"It's scary. ... It's definitely something you don't expect, but in Oakland nowadays you have to be prepared for the unexpected," said Roy Manzanares, a photographer who has lived in the Grand Lakearea for 17 years.

Karen Kartch, a chiropractor whose office is next door to 3661 Grand Ave., said the victim and his elderly mother opened the Cal West Insurance agency in an upstairs suite about a year ago. Kartch was talking to a patient when she heard gunfire.
"I heard a boom, and I paused because it didn't sound right, and then I heard somebody groaning," she said.

Kartch went to the aid of the victim and attempted to get a phone number for his mother, she said.

"He was talking, he was in the moment, but it was hard getting all the numbers out," she said.

Kartch said she has done business on Grand Avenue for 13 years and never had any problems.

"Even the homeless people keep to themselves," she said. "I'm shaking inside."
Residents said there has been an increase in car thefts and break-ins, store robberies and violence.

"I do think we need more police presence," said Deborah Rothstein, who lives in the area and was doing business near the building where the shooting occurred Friday. "But I also think people need to look out for each other more."

Police on Friday also continued to investigate the slaying of 25-year-old Myron Shackelford, an East Oakland man shot and killed in a gun battle on the 1600 block of 87th Avenue, not far from where he lived.

The shooting happened at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, and it appears Shackelford was the only person shot in the exchange of gunfire.

Police responding to reports of shots fired found him lying on the pavement. He was taken to Highland Hospital, where he died at 9:51 p.m.

Police said Friday it appears Shackelford was part of a group who encountered another in the area, not far from where he was eventually found. No one had been arrested Friday.

Sgt. Brian Medeiros would only say that the confrontation resulted in "multiple shots being fired by more than one person."

He said police are not sure what the motive was. Police contacted area hospitals to see if any gunshot victims were brought there, but none had been.

Police said Shackelford worked for a car lubrication business. Officers were not sure whether he was married or had any children.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the killer in each case.Call police at 238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 238-6946 with information.
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