It was exactly a year ago yesterday that shots rang out on a hot summer afternoon in North Oakland. By the end of the day, 17-year-old Desiree Davis would become Oakland’s 77th murder victim for 2009.
Before she became murder #77, Desiree Davis was a survivor of a different kind of calamity – a disaster named Katrina. It’s been five years since that flooding caused an exodus from New Orleans. Desiree Davis and her family were among those who had to leave their destroyed homes to look for a place to start over. They landed in Oakland, and Desiree Davis enrolled at Oakland Technical High School where she took on the nickname “New Orleans.”
But instead of finding a new life here, Desiree met her death on Oakland’s streets. In this special report from KALW News, we will look at Desiree’s unsolved murder, and what it tells us about the challenges of seeking justice and about Oakland’s rampant street violence.
This piece, by S. Howard Bransford, is the first in a two-part KALW series on Desiree’s murder.