Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Oakland cops' survivors reflect on anniversary

Susan Notes:

The offer of a slain Oakland police officer offers generosity, hope, and a belief in libraries:

The family of Officer John Hege, 41, who was unmarried and had no children, plans to give a piece of his estate to help build a library in the East Oakland area where Hege worked.

by Matthai Kuruvila

Tamra Hege, mother of Officer John Hege

Tamra Hege, 71, said her only son had long yearned to be an Oakland police officer, in part because of "the action." He fulfilled that dream for 10 years.

Even before John Hege joined Oakland's force, he and his family had been involved in the city's affairs in different ways.

They joined Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, partly because of its proximity to Oakland's downtown. Tamra Hege is active in the Oakland Museum of California as part of its women's board, which puts on an annual "white elephant sale" that raised $1 million this year. She and her husband are part of the Lake Merritt Sailing Club, and she has been involved with Oakland libraries "forever."

"We were committed to Oakland long before John," said Hege, whose home is on an unusual parcel that straddles Piedmont and Oakland.

Her son left no will. Once his estate is settled, his mother said, a portion of it will support a new library in East Oakland. . . .

She also said she had some sympathy for Mixon.

"People think I should be angry," said Hege. "But I do feel that Mixon didn't have any of the advantages or breaks. It's not an excuse. I'm not saying that. But he had about 10 strikes to begin with."

From what she knows, Mixon had a broken family, little education and no significant mentors.

"John had a lot of people who helped him in various ways," she said, from the Boy Scouts to teachers.

For Mixon, however, "something was going to happen to him because of where he came from and how he grew up. He was going nowhere fast. He couldn't get a job. Whether there was a job he could do, I have a doubt."

At the time that her son pulled up on his police motorcycle behind Mixon's 1995 Buick on Macarthur Boulevard for a traffic stop, police had already been looking for the parolee.

"It was just a little late," she said.

— Matthai Kuruvila
San Francisco Chronicle



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.