The possibility that Mixon feared being arrested for rape is a key factor for investigators trying to understand why the 26-year-old Oakland man opened fire on two motorcycle officers who pulled him over for a traffic stop Saturday afternoon at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.
Witnesses said Mixon stood over the wounded officers, Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and Officer John Hege, 41, and fired at least one round into each with a handgun before fleeing on foot to his sister's apartment half a block down 74th, acting Police Chief Howard Jordan said.
Although the reason for the traffic stop isn't known, Jordan said witness accounts indicate that Dunakin, possibly suspicious of what turned out to be a fake driver's license, motioned to Hege to remove Mixon from his car just before Mixon opened fire.
When SWAT officers, acting on a tip, later stormed the nearby apartment, Mixon opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle, killing Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, and wounding Sgt. Pat Gonzales before other officers shot him to death.
At first, police suggested that Mixon might have shot the motorcycle officers because he knew he was being sought for skipping a meeting with his parole officer in February, something that would have resulted in a prison sentence of no more than six months.
Had he been convicted of rape, however, Mixon could have been looking at a state prison sentence of several years.
Report came Friday
Officials at a state laboratory reported to police Friday that DNA from a rape that happened in late January or early February matched Mixon's, said Lt. Kevin Wiley, who oversees the police sex crimes unit.
Mixon's DNA was on file because of his conviction in 2002 for assault with a deadly weapon in an attempted carjacking in San Francisco, for which he served six years in prison. The state lab's match was reported Friday afternoon to an Oakland police sex crimes investigator, Officer Herb Webber, Wiley said.
Webber got the news shortly before leaving work at his scheduled time, Wiley said. Police could not have issued an arrest warrant immediately for Mixon because investigators first would have needed to gather another sample of his DNA for comparison purposes, the lieutenant said.
Webber declined to comment Monday.
Given a few more days, investigators could have followed up on the match and might have been able to take Mixon off the streets, Wiley said. "Without a doubt, it's disturbing," he said, referring to the timing of the information.
Wiley said the victim had been raped in Oakland and did not know her attacker. She helped police produce a composite sketch of the attacker, but police would not reveal other details of the case.
Police are investigating a second, similar rape to determine whether Mixon might be a suspect, said Officer Jeff Thomason, a department spokesman. "We're looking to see if there's more," he said.
Oakland investigators have suspected Mixon of being involved in other crimes but were never able to produce enough evidence to bring charges.
Police had been searching for Mixon since he was declared a parolee at large in February, authorities said Monday.
March 6 search
Gordon Hinkle, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Oakland police searched three locations March 6 for Mixon but did not find him.
Jordan also indicated that his department is investigating whether officers had a run-in with Mixon in the days before the shootings, but he did not provide details.
"We might have had some contact with him," Jordan said.
Other sources close to the case said Mixon could have given a false name to officers who detained him in connection with an auto theft and that Mixon was freed before police learned he was wanted for violating his parole.
Oakland police had also considered Mixon a suspect in the December 2007 slaying of Ramon Stevens, 42, who was shot and killed on the street near the corner of 86th Avenue and International Boulevard. Mixon was detained on a parole violation in February 2008, but homicide investigators could not make a case.
The victim's sister said a witness had told her Mixon was the killer, authorities said. But Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said Monday that the witness did not want to cooperate, and Mixon was freed in November.
Court records show that Mixon had only a 10th-grade education. He moved to the Oakland area in 1996 from Atlanta and was a special education student at Skyline High School before dropping out.
He accumulated a long list of juvenile offenses in Alameda County, including possession of stolen property, vandalism, petty theft and battery, court records show.
In March 2002, Mixon and two other attackers tried to carjack a truck, fired a shot and pistol-whipped the driver on Mission Street near Sixth Street in San Francisco.
The victim, Francisco Cardenas, told police that Mixon was holding a gun as the three "got me out of my car, telling me to shut up," court records show. As he tried to run, the assailants hit him.
"Then I saw one of them shooting his gun at me," Cardenas said. "After that, I don't remember any more."
Cardenas required 16 stitches. The men drove off in a car without stealing the truck, and police arrested Mixon and the others a short distance away. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.
In a sentencing report, San Francisco probation officer Yvonne Williams wrote that Mixon's juvenile record was that of a "cold-hearted individual who does not have any regard for human life." She said state prison was the only way to "to rein in this man's proclivity for violence."
Mixon told authorities that in the attempted carjacking, "I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and did not act responsible and allowed someone else to act just as bad," according to the report. "Now I have to take responsibility for it all."
Mixon also is quoted in the report as saying he planned to move away to "a better area, get a job, and hopefully in about two or three years get my own business, raise my kids in a responsible way."
"I wish I could fix or make up for what happened," Mixon was quoted as saying. "But I can't, so I am going to attempt to make the best out of it and learn as much as possible to help me when I get out."
At the time, Mixon had a 1-year-old son but was not paying child support because he was unemployed, the probation report said.
In 2000, he worked for six months as a grocery packer for Webvan in Oakland, making $10 an hour, the report said. The next year he spent three months as an inventory worker for another Oakland company and made $9 an hour.
This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle