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Oakland residents shocked, concerned after body found in suitcase in Lake Merritt

<i></i><br/>Cleaning crews discovered a large suitcase floating in  Lake Merritt with a human body inside.
Lawrence, Nakia

Cleaning crews discovered a large suitcase floating in Lake Merritt with a human body inside.

By Tim Johns

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    OAKLAND, California (KGO) — Oakland police are investigating a gruesome discovery near the shores of Lake Merritt on Tuesday.

Around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, cleaning crews discovered a large suitcase floating in the water with a human body inside.

Kevin Shomo was part of that cleaning crew.

“I thought it was a dummy. Like one of those human dummies. It looked like human flesh. And then we opened it up further and realized,” he said.

The Oakland Police Department is withholding the identity of the body for the time being.

They tell ABC7 News they’re investigating how and when the person died.

“Part of the investigation is to determine where the body could have floated from as well. So it could be any part of the lake,” said Captain Alan Yu.

Police are asking people around the Lake to review home security camera footage to see if they caught anything suspicious.

It’s possible the luggage was dumped elsewhere and the luggage floated to the south end of the lake.

While the suitcase incident has gotten a lot of attention, many of the Oakland residents we talked to say this is just another example of why they feel increasingly unsafe in their own city.

That includes Zoe Siegel.

Siegel says while she knows crime in Oakland has risen in recent years, this is especially disturbing.

“This type of crime does seem uncharacteristic for the type of crime that has been happening in Oakland,” she said.

Although bothersome, Siegel says this isn’t the first time she’s heard of a body in the lake.

“I rode crew on Lake Merritt in high school and back then we also ran over a dead body,” she said.

News of the body’s discovery also came as a shock to Bruce Roy and Kay Skonieczny.

“The person who told me just said, did you hear about the body in the suitcase in the lake? Wow,” Roy said.

The couple says they live nearby and walk around the lake every day.

They say they continue to worry about crime in the city and hope maybe Tuesday’s incident will force city leaders to do more.

“We certainly hope that something can be done to try and quell…it’s just really out of control in many ways,” Skonieczny said.

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