One of the four Oakland Police Department officers who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Saturday, March 21 was a Big Bear High School graduate. Thirty-five-year-old Daniel Sakai, son of Tom and Mikki Sakai of Big Bear City, was fatally shot during a standoff in an Oakland apartment on Saturday afternoon, which stemmed from a routine traffic stop two hours earlier in which the driver (a parolee said to have an extensive criminal history) shot two officers before leaving on foot to hide in an apartment. Sakai, who has been referred to as a shining star on the Oakland Police Department’s SWAT Team, was fired upon by the suspect, who was killed by a fifth officer involved in the incident. While a student in his hometown of Big Bear, Sakai had earned his Eagle Scout badge before attending UC Berkeley and then spending a year in Japan teaching English. He had spent eight years on the Oakland police force, rising to the rank of sergeant; his wife Jen is a police officer at UC Berkeley. Friends of Danny and Jen say that the couple, who have a young daughter, enjoyed skiing together. In response to Saturday’s incident, billed as one of the deadliest attacks on law enforcement in California history, Governor Schwarzenegger said in a statement, “All four officers dedicated their lives to public safety and selflessly worked to protect the people of Oakland. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost, the Oakland Police Department and law enforcement officers throughout California during this difficult time.”
Information on a trust fund for Oakland’s fallen officers, which also includes Sergeant Mark Dunakin, Sergeant Ervin Romans and John Hege, is available at opoa.org.