Click photo to enlarge
Police display a Colt assault rifle with a 100-round drum that they seized in an incident on New Year's Eve, at a press conference to announce the enhanced use of the Spot Shotter technology to try to curb gun violence in the city, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

OAKLAND -- Police extolled Oakland's soon-to-be expanded gunfire detection service Thursday for helping officers arrest a gunman earlier this week and retrieve a military grade assault weapon -- the same variety used by the department's SWAT Team.

As part of an enforcement operation targeting celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve, a team of nine officers raced to the 2200 block of 84th Avenue where Oakland's ShotSpotter system recorded multiple gunshots at 10:31 p.m. Monday.

A car chase ensued that resulted in police arresting Steven Stevenson, 31, of Oakland and recovering a Colt DPMS Assault Rifle with a magazine that holds up to 100 rounds capable of piercing a bulletproof vest.

"This isn't a throw-down, run-of-the-mill rinky-dink firearm," Capt. Ersie Joyner said at news conference Thursday, where police displayed the gun.

Stevenson, who had a prior felony arrest for assault with a deadly weapon, faces charges for weapons possession, fleeing from police and ramming a police vehicle during the chase, Joyner said. Police will also seek federal weapons charges against him.

ShotSpotter, which also is employed in San Francisco and Richmond, uses acoustic devices to provide police real time information pinpointing where shots are fired.

Joyner said the system detected nearly 200 instances of shots fired during the four-hour New Year's Eve enforcement period.

Oakland adopted the system in 2006, but maintenance issues and staffing shortages severely limited its usefulness. The city got it working again in late 2011, Joyner said.

Last year, the City Council approved expanding the system to cover about 80 percent of the city. The expanded service, which will go into effect in several months, increased the system's annual cost from $84,000 to $348,000.

Police previously deployed a ShotSpotter response team on July 4 when celebratory gunfire is also common. Joyner said he hopes the department will deploy more teams throughout the year.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.


Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson holds a .223-calibre assault rife seized by police during a New Year’s Eve incident, at a press conference
Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson holds a .223-calibre assault rife seized by police during a New Year's Eve incident, at a press conference to announce the enhanced use of the Spot Shotter technology to try to curb gun violence in the city, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff) ( D. ROSS CAMERON )