Killing Lifts Oakland’s One-Year Homicide Record to 146

United Press International

The shotgun death of a man on the final day of the year boosted Oakland’s 1986 homicide record to 146, highest in the history of the city.

The previous record was established in 1980.

Cleo Hildreth, 40, was fatally shot as he drove his 1978 Cadillac Seville along MacArthur Boulevard near 106th Avenue at about 3 a.m. Wednesday. The victim drove wounded for about a block before he lost control and smashed his car into a series of store fronts.

Police said Thursday that they knew of no motive for the slaying, and Hildreth’s killer remained at large.


Hildreth, an auto detailer who was laid off his job last week, was the father of a 7-year-old boy, authorities said.

His death ended Oakland’s bloodiest year, with homicides up 28% over the 114 in 1985.

As in previous years, most Oakland homicide victims in 1986 were black men, and so were most of the homicide suspects, police records show.

Handguns and knives were the weapons most often used, and the three most common motives were arguments, drugs and robberies.


High unemployment and “an atmosphere of hopelessness” have contributed, City Councilman Wilson Riles Jr. said.

“Oakland has gone through a year with a lot of bad news--there is high unemployment, AIDS, a nuclear threat--all that leads to a feeling of depression in a community and the violence in the streets is a symptom of that,” he said.