About 1,000 Californians were peacefully celebrating at the lake when gunfire broke out at 6.22 p.m. in the 2200 block of Lakeshore Avenue, according to police.
Six victims were taken to hospital, where the 22-year-old was pronounced dead.
A 21-year-old woman and four other males—aged between 16 and 27—were injured, police said. All were said to be in stable condition on Sunday morning.
Oakland Police Department said that two men seen “running from the scene with firearms” have been arrested.
Video posted on social media by those purporting to have been at the event showed people fleeing the scene after hearing the gunfire.
Local station KTVU reports that eyewitness accounts on social media suggested some people were arguing at the event in the moments leading up to the gunfire. Neither police nor Newsweek has confirmed that was the case.
Oakland Police Department has been contacted for comment.
One woman described the “scary and surreal” scene after the shots were fired.
“Watching children and families literally run for their lives and hide is something I never thought I would witness,” she wrote on Twitter.
Freelance journalist Haley Gray wrote: The scene at Lake Merritt was beautiful today. Then, dumbstruck and horrified, we watched the sea of revelers split in two, crowds running in opposite directions, scattered by round after round after round of gunshots. I hope all there find the peace and calm they need tonight.”
Those efforts have come at a testing time for the city amid a surge in gun violence in recent years. After years of declining homicide levels, Oakland is on track to record a triple-digit count for the second year in a row.
Responding to the latest shooting, city officials sent condolences to the victims’ families and reaffirmed their commitment to “ending violent crime” using “holistic solutions,” following the shooting.
“We recognize the critical work police officers do to respond to violence and understand that a holistic, effective safety infrastructure includes violence prevention, arts and culture, youth programs, jobs, housing and so much more, in addition to police investigations that solve homicides,” read a statement by Nikki Fortunato Bas, Oakland City Council President, and council member Carroll Fife.
“As we await details from investigators, we reiterate our commitment to ending violent crime in Oakland and continue to advocate for holistic solutions to keeping our communities safe.”
Anyone who may have information, video footage or photos is asked to call Oakland Police Department’s Homicide Division at (510) 238-3821.
Crime Stoppers of Oakland and the Oakland Police Department are offering up to $35,000 for information leading to the arrest(s) in this case.