2022 East Bay crime: These incidents stood out
If 2022 seemed like another tough year for the reputation of law enforcement nationwide, think only of what the East Bay witnessed: An Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy was charged with an execution-style murder after another Contra Costa County deputy became the first to face a felony conviction.
There was also a thorough investigation of several officers from the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments regarding possible civil rights violations and other alleged crimes of “moral turpitude.”
These stories highlighted East Bay’s most eye-catching public safety events over the past 12 months. Here are some of the biggest:
A shocking murder in Dublin
Former Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Dep. Devin Williams Jr, 24is accused of breaking into a Dublin home on September 7 and killing Benison Tran, 57, and his 42-year-old wife, Maria Tran, in the back of the head and neck.
Authorities believe Williams had been romantically involved with Maria Tran and went to her home after completing a shift at Santa Rita prison. The California Highway Patrol arrested Williams in Coalinga after he fled to central California. He is awaiting his trial.
Sheriff’s deputy convicted
In March, the ex-dep. of the Contra Costa County Sheriff. Andrew Room was sentenced to six years in prison for fatally shooting a mentally ill man during a low-speed police chase in 2018. The previous year, Hall had become the county’s first law enforcement officer ever convicted in an on-duty police shootout after jurors. convicted him of assault with a firearm and firearm enhancement in the death of 33-year-old Fremont resident Laudemer Arboleda.
Hall avoided being convicted on a more serious manslaughter charge, and Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton announced in October that her office wouldn’t ask for charges against Hall for shooting Tyrell Wilson, a homeless man from Danville, in 2021.
Bad guys with badges?
the investigation of police officers in Pittsburgh and Antioch involved a federal grand jury that convened to consider whether indictments should be brought against the officers involved.
Multiple sources told this publication that Antioch police officers Morteza Amiri — whose police dog has bitten at least 22 people since 2019 — and Eric Rombough were two of 11 officers under federal investigation. The group included eight officers from Antioch and three from Pittsburgh, the sources said. The eight officers from Antioch represent 15% of the police force in this department.
Terror on campus
An Oakland Unified School District carpenter died 17 days after he and five others were struck by gunfire September 28 at Rudsdale High School, a school among a cluster of them at the King Estates Education Complex in the 8200 block of Fontaine Street. More than 600 students are enrolled in the schools, according to district records.
The two suspected shooters have not been arrested.
Tragedy in an Airbnb
Berkeley High School brothers Jazy Sotelo Garcia, 17, and Angel Sotelo Garcia, 15, died in a flurry of gunfire on October 1 in a house in North Oakland that had been rented on a short-term basis through Airbnb. At least 30 people were attending a party that had been going on for two to three hours when three people arrived and two started shooting, authorities said. Police have not announced any arrests in the case. The two boys were the eldest of six siblings.
A long search and a sad end
The town of Oakley in eastern Contra Costa County and its residents have been gripped and shaken by the disappearance of 24-year-old resident Alexis Gabe, the subsequent search for her and the discovery of his remains in November. The saga began when Gabe disappeared after being last seen at her ex-boyfriend’s house in Antioch on January 26. The ex-boyfriend, identified as Marshall Curtis Jones III, was killed June 1 by law enforcement officials in Washington state, who said he charged them with a knife as they moved to make an arrest.
Justice for Jasper?
More than a year after shootings on Interstate 880 ended the life of 23-month-old Jasper Wu, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged three suspected San Francisco gang members with murder, shooting at a manned or occupied vehicle and possession of a firearm by a criminal. The shooting occurred Nov. 6, 2021, as Wu was riding in a car seat with family members on southbound I-880 near Filbert Street. The three are still awaiting trial.
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