By Alex Jimenez
OAKLAND, CA-Emotions filled the Alameda County Superior Court as families and colleagues of a victim were in attendance as Mark Anthony Estrada was sentenced to 50 years to life for the shooting death of Hayward Police Sgt. Scott Lunger in 2015.
Judge Don Clay imposed 25 years to life for the murder conviction and an additional 25 years to life on a use of firearm enhancement.
“The worst part about losing my dad so young is that now I have to remember him longer than I got to know him,” said the daughter of Lunger. She and her sister talked about the mental and emotional impact their dad’s death had on them.
Deputy District Attorney John Jeffery Brouhand thanked the efforts from the investigator, Hayward, San Leandro, and Oakland police departments for assisting in the prosecution.
Brouhand highlighted the impact this case had on the community and public safety, stating, “The community recognizes the impact of this murders actions, people who live in neighborhoods in the community want to feel safe.”
He described how Estrada was driving under the influence of alcohol and cocaine while carrying a loaded firearm illegally, a scenario in which the public would want an officer to intervene as Sgt. Lunger did on that fateful night.
“When a police officer is murdered in the line of duty, the impact is magnified even more, such a murder represents a violent attack on our community and our sense of safety.”
Defense attorney Linda Fullerton brought up a speaker to talk about the fear that young Latino men have in that neighborhood about police shooting them.
(NOTE: the speaker was referred to as “the DR”)
The speaker talked about the historical and contemporary nature of police interactions in Latino communities that often result in death. He cited a report by the San Francisco Chronicle stating that Latinos make up 39 percent of California’s population but account for 45 percent of police related murders between 2016 and 2019.
“This history of violence by the police on the Latino community has a long history. From 1915 to 1920, 5,000 Mexicans were lynched and killed by the Texas rangers,” according to the guest speaker citing a book called Gun Powdered Justice.
Given the sense of fear in the Latino community, the speaker asked the judge to look at the full context of the relationship between Latino men and police, noting, “I don’t think everything is black and white.”
Estrada’s mother, sister, and childhood friends all took the stand articulating a similar sentiment that his actions were out of character for him. It is worth noting that new reports said Estrada had no apparent criminal record.
His mother, sister and friends described Estrada as a shy, hardworking and responsible man who had helped raise his two sisters growing up, commenting with Estrada’s mother stating, “He was a good student and never got into trouble, he is a responsible person none of this makes sense.”
She added she felt uncomfortable when the police were around. claiming that they would follow her.
Defense Attorney Linda Fullerton summarized the testimony from the family and the DR, arguing that Estrada was not the cold-blooded killer he was being made out to be.
“As we heard, Mark Estrada was a young man who nobody believed was capable of this act, and obviously what happened was he was fearful both in the context of society as a whole and was fearful because of something that happened at that same location.” said Fullerton.
Judge Don Clay acknowledged all the points and testimonies that were made and also talked about how Estrada was possibly under the influence in this case.
Judge Clay would ultimately impose a total of 50 years to life for Estrada and denied probation.