Home NEWS Local Scene Sideshows Warming Up – Gunshots And Donuts

Sideshows Warming Up – Gunshots And Donuts


The traditional weekend cruising event for which some local cities became known appear to have given way to noisier, smellier, more mobile automotive happenings liable to pop up anywhere, draw dozens if not hundreds of participants and spell trouble for those who don’t appreciate the artsier elements of burning donuts in the middle of captive intersections.

Recently, sizable gatherings of as many as 200 cars have popped up in Benicia, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Concord, Oakley, and Livermore – waking unappreciative civilians, capturing key sections of roadway and drawing the attention of police.

Part of the allure, apparently, is taunting law enforcement and running from officers when they arrive on scene – often with less than optimal consequences.

A 40-year-old Livermore man was wounded Wednesday morning when he drew gunfire after attempting to obtain the license plate number of a car he observed spinning donuts in the area of Chestnut and North M streets.

Police responding to the area – scene of a chaotic sideshow the night before – heard gunshots and located the victim in the 2000 block of Chestnut Avenue, suffering from a non life-threatening wound. He told officers he was trying to exit the area when a bullet penetrated his car from the rear.

Officers located the suspect vehicle a short time later and arrested the 20-year-old driver, Smith said, who was also from Livermore.

On Saturday night, police in Oakley responded to a report of sideshow activity involving an estimated 200 vehicles in the area of Sellers Avenue and E. Cypress Road.

A lone officer quickly found himself outnumbered by an estimated 60 cars, the occupants surrounding the cruiser with at least one participant jumping on the hood and roof before the officer could withdraw.

Police reported that at least one gunshot was heard, though it was believed not directly at the officer, and a gun was reportedly recovered.

A black BMW participating in the sideshow struck a car as it was fleeing the area and was later located, abandoned, not far from where it struck another car at Sellers and Riverrock.

Although no arrests were made, two vehicles were towed and their drivers identified – with charges expected to be filed with the district attorney.

Despite a zero tolerance policy toward sideshows area police have had a difficult time corralling their participants, though seizures and high fines are possible when arrests are made. The gatherings are highly mobile, of course, and consist of souped-up, extremely nimble vehicles modified to run at high speeds with drivers communicating via text messages – always able to stay a step ahead of police.


  1. Gunshots and Donuts has a nice cadence. However, I’m not too happy about the emasculation of the police response. This is one more instance of lawlessness with no coherent or effective response. Politics aside. We need to fix this.

  2. Such hooliganism is a foreseeable consequence when the welfare state — or generous, negligent parents, for that matter — endow the proletariat with sufficient means to procure automobiles and firearms without demanding a contribution of labor or other resources in return.

    People who work for the money to buy their cars and rely on their cars to access employment seldom squander six dollar petrol or valuable tire tread burning donuts.

    • “endow the proletariat”? Seriously? If you improve the lot of the working class they become “hooligans”? What a line of “reasoning”…If you have “generous, negligent parents”, you are NOT the proletariat who live hand to mouth. I suggest you leave the “proletariat” out of it and work the problem.

  3. During the May 30, 2020 Broadway Plaza riot, I was taking pictures of license plates. One young man objected to my photography and threatened to kill me, I was able to convince him that it would be better for his health if he retracted the statement, guess how I made him rethink his comments. 108RS

  4. As a child I accompanied older siblings to the Great Highway in San Francisco, where off duty police officers supervised drag racing to make sure drivers weren’t too drunk or high. Officers knew youngsters wanted to drag race, so they preferred to have them do it safely.

    These donuts, drifting, and discharged guns are another level. Firing on a civilian sounds like attempted murder.

    Local police can’t infiltrate local chat rooms, plan for an event, and block off streets or throw down spike strips to catch 5-10 perps?

    • Forgot about the Ocean Beach Drags… nice reference.

      Re: Police reaction to these gatherings, we’re sure they’re meeting now to discuss how to best address them. Numbers game at the moment – more participants than available police?

      • Pretty sure they were the first time it happened but like someone said there are more sideshowers than police. They have ways to compensate for that but most times these people are taking off to another location and coordinating by phone. It’s all part of the game.

        • Biggest part of the problem is that most of the offenses are misdemeanors and the Bay Area DA’s will not prosecute them. 108RS

      • Town Pump- Most agencies, especially the smaller cities don’t have enough officers on duty at night to deal with 50-100 cars often containing multiple occupants. Also most have pursuit policies that prohibit chasing for vehicle infractions. Most of the side show participants know local PDs won’t chase, only the CHP will chase, but again even CHP is thinly stretched.

  5. Paintball the cars with phosphorescent paint from ground units and if possible aircraft so the drivers can be tracked and prosecuted.

  6. After this chat, I feel enlightened and so much closer to a solution. Send in the military. Handcuff or shoot the libs. Bring a shredder for the legal hassles and bring donuts to smooth things over with judicial.

    Isn’t this how Eliot Ness was born? out of Nessessity?

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