Aaron Smith of Denver, who lost control of his car as he attempted to evade gunfire in a shooting at in West Oakland, smokes a cigarette as he awaits a tow truck on March 22, 2016. (D. Ross Cameron, Bay Area News Group)

Denver cannabis industry leader flips car in California amid gunfire

OAKLAND, Calif. — A Denver cannabis industry leader, visiting to plan for a June conference here, was slightly injured Tuesday afternoon when he ducked to avoid gunfire and flipped his car while driving through West Oakland.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, was driving northbound on San Pablo in a Kia sedan shortly before 2 p.m. when he heard gunshots. After he ducked to dodge the bullets, his car sideswiped a parked vehicle before overturning and coming to rest on its roof.

His car’s air bag activated upon impact and Smith said “it felt like I was punched in the nose.”

There were no reports of any other injuries but more than a half-dozen shell casings were found at the scene, police said.

The shooting happened about 1:55 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of 27th Street and San Pablo Avenue. Another unoccupied parked car was also hit by gunshots.

Police said they believe someone was shooting at another person on the street but apparently did not hit the intended target.

Smith was able to get out of the car on his own and went to a nearby business for help. He was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Still visibly shaken an hour later, Smith said he was in town to help plan for the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo on June 20 at the Oakland Marriott City Center.

Officers were interviewing witnesses at the scene and San Pablo was blocked off between 27th and 28th streets.

Police have not established a motive yet for the shooting and said no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the shooting may call police at 510-238-3426.

Staff photographer D. Ross Cameron contributed to this story.

Cannabist Show: Interview with Aaron Smith (cue to the 16:15 mark)

This story was first published on InsideBayArea.com