Iamge: Colleague signs book of condolences in Oakland, Calf.
Eric Risberg  /  AP
John Deruiter signs a book of condolences for the fallen Oakland police officers at City Hall in Oakland on Monday. Oakland's police department has been left stunned after four officers were killed during confrontations with a parolee on Saturday, the department's worst single-day death toll.
updated 3/24/2009 11:06:24 PM ET 2009-03-25T03:06:24

The fourth Oakland police officer who was shot by a 26-year-old man wanted on a parole violation has been taken off of life support, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Officer John Hege was taken off life support Monday night. The 41-year-old Concord resident's family had kept him alive so his organs could be donated, in keeping with his wishes.

Breaux said the process of harvesting the officer's organs started just after 8 p.m. and was completed by 2 a.m.  

Hege and a partner were gunned down when they pulled the parolee over on Saturday. A manhunt ensued and two more officers died when the city's SWAT team stormed an apartment where the suspected gunman, Lovelle Mixon, was hiding.

California prison records show that authorities had issued a warrant for Mixon's arrest after he missed a mandatory meeting with his parole officer on Feb. 19.

Prison and court records show Mixon, 26, had served nearly five years in state prison for assault with a firearm during an armed robbery in San Francisco. More recently, he served several months in prison last year for a parole violation.

The day before the traffic stop, Oakland investigators had gotten information possibly linking Mixon to a February rape. DNA found at the scene was a probable match to Mixon, police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle published Tuesday, Sgt. Kevin Wiley said the victim in that rape case was a 12-year-old girl who was threatened at gunpoint, dragged off the street and sexually assaulted in a secluded area between homes. Investigators also told the Chronicle that Mixon may have committed as many as five other rapes in the area.

Wiley did not return a call by The Associated Press, and Thomason refused on Tuesday to discuss details of the rape case.

Problems with parolees
Earlier Monday, state Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will examine how 26-year-old Mixon was monitored following his release from prison in November on a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Mixon also was a suspect in a murder last year but was never charged, according to state prison officials.

"Mixon was certainly a character that needed more supervision," said Brown, the former mayor of Oakland. "In Oakland, the highway patrol has an office there, sheriff and police. And all those agencies should have a list of the more dangerous, threatening parolees so they can keep a watch on them."

Problems involving parolees from California's overcrowded prison system have long beset state officials who must monitor them, local officials who try to keep streets safe and federal authorities who enforce firearms and other laws.

Mixon was one of 164 Oakland parolees in mid-March who had outstanding arrest warrants for parole violations, state prison records show.

The city of 400,000 had more than 1,900 total parolees at the time, including nearly 300 who had been returned to custody or whose parole was about to be revoked.

Statewide, almost 17,000 of the nearly 125,000 parolees were wanted for violating their parole requirements, state records show.

Difficulties finding job
Mixon's family members said he was upset that he was unable to find work, felt his parole officer was not helping him and feared he would be arrested for a parole violation.

Mixon was wanted for missing an appointment with his parole supervisor.

State prison officials said Mixon's parole officer was responsible for 70 parolees.

A caseload of that size is nearly unmanageable, and also not unusual, said Lance Corcoran, spokesman for California's prison guard union, which includes parole officers.

Too many parolees prevents officers from effectively monitoring or guiding them back into society, Corcoran said.

Image: Lovelle Mixon
Oakland P.D.  /  Getty Images
Police say Lovelle Mixon was wanted for violating his parole when officers stopped him on Saturday.

Mixon was driving a 1995 Buick when motorcycle patrolmen Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and the 41-year-old Hege stopped him around 1 p.m. Saturday, police said. Dunakin was shot dead at the scene. Hege had been declared brain-dead over the weekend.

Police have not said why Mixon was pulled over, but relatives who talked to him on his cell phone just before the traffic stop said he was looking for a parking space.

After the first two officers were shot, Mixon fled to what his family said was a younger sister's apartment around the corner. A police commando team stormed the apartment around 3 p.m. Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, were gunned down before officers fatally shot Mixon.

The police team had little choice but to try to take the suspect by force, experts said.

"They knew this was a killer who hadn't hesitated to kill uniformed police officers," said Joseph McNamara, retired San Jose police chief and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

How Mixon got the guns, including an assault weapon, used in the shootings has not been disclosed.

California prison records show that authorities issued a warrant for Mixon's arrest after he failed to make a mandatory meeting with his parole officer on Feb. 19. Parole violators typically face five to nine months in prison, said Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

At City Hall, where the flags flew at half-staff, a steady stream of mourners patiently lined up in the lobby to write their condolences in four books, one for each officer.

Oakland police Sgt. Mark Schmid used his lunch break to write down his thoughts. He said his colleagues are still struggling with the incident.

"This is the biggest tragedy ever to hit our department," Schmid said. "We're just numb and walking around like zombies. We feel each other's pain but we don't know how to explain it."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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