Murdered man was brother of man killed by gangs in 2009

Berkeley’s second homicide of the year took place in the 1800 block of Derby Street, just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Google Street View

Exclusive: The man who was shot and killed on Derby Street on Wednesday night was the older brother of a man murdered by North Oakland gang members in 2009 — and had been the intended target of that shooting.

Jermaine “Thurgood” Davis was killed around 6:52 p.m. in the 1800 block of Derby Street, according to Todd Walker, a friend of the Davis family. Berkeley police have not yet released the victim’s identity.

“He was ambushed,” said Walker.

On May 16, 2009, Jermaine Davis had been the intended target of four North Side Oakland members locked in an escalating feud with Berkeley’s Waterfront Gang, according to Alameda County prosecutors. The four men – Samuel Flowers, 25, Rafael Campbell, 28, Anthony Price, 30, and Stephon Anthony, 23, drove into Berkeley that day looking for Jermaine Davis, but could not find him, according to prosecutors. Instead, they used an SKS assault weapon with hollow point bullets to kill his brother, Charles “CJ” Davis, 25, who had no gang affiliation, instead. Flowers was identified by witnesses as the shooter.

Berkeley police then chased the four men from the scene of the shooting at 10 Street and Allston Way, reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The six-mile pursuit ended in tragedy when Anthony’s Cadillac ran a stop sign at the intersection of Aileen Street and Martin Luther King Way in Oakland. The car crashed into a car driven by Todd Perea, 27, killing him instantly. Anthony’s Cadillac pushed Perea’s car onto the sidewalk where it struck and killed Floyd Ross Jr., 37, who was walking to see his mother.

Anthony and Price were arrested at the scene and witnesses identified Anthony as the driver. Police caught Flowers in Florida two weeks later. Campbell was caught in Sacramento six months later after the television show “America’s Most Wanted” aired an episode on the case.

The four men, whom prosecutor Steve Del Porto called “domestic terrorists,” in his closing statement to the jury, were sentenced Friday July 12 to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. They had been convicted in April of first degree murder with gang enhancements, use of a gun, and special circumstances for the killing of Charles Davis. The defendants also were found guilty of two counts of second degree murder for the killings of Todd Perea and Floyd Ross Jr. Each defendant was also found guilty of two felony counts of causing death during the flight from a pursuing peace officer.

Just five days later, Jermaine Davis was killed.

But Walker said he did not think the conviction and the killing were related. In recent years, Jermaine Davis had been leading a productive life far away from gang activity, he said.

“He has really changed his life around,” said Walker. “He got into trouble when he was younger but he has been doing really good. He has been helping out with his nephew, who plays football. He’s really good with the little kids.”

The Davis family has lived in West Berkeley for decades, said Walker, who has known Jermaine Davis since he was an infant. “He comes from a really close knit family,” he said. Davis graduated from Berkeley High in 2005 and was working with his uncle doing odd jobs at the time of his death.

A lot of the gang members from 2009 have grown up and have children of their own and are no longer involved in violence, said Walker. That is why he does not think the conviction and the shooting of Jermaine Davis are related.

The trial in Alameda County Superior Court revealed the often hidden world of gang violence. The feud between the North Side Oakland Gang and the Berkeley Waterfront Gang started over a stolen car tire rim in 2002 and continued with the killing of three Oakland gang members, Del Porto told the court.

“They embrace a mindset, a culture, a way of life where gaining respect is brought about by how much fear, how much violence you inflict on a community,” said Dal Porto, according to the Oakland Tribune. “This is the kind of mindset you cannot even imagine; they are as savage, low-down and despicable as it gets.”

The killing is Berkeley’s second homicide of the year. On Feb. 4, Zontee Jones was shot on Delaware Street just west of San Pablo Avenue. Jevon Calland has been charged with murder in that case.

Man shot and killed on Derby Street [07.17.13]
DA announces guilty verdicts in Berkeley murder trial [04.30.13]

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  • Berk

    Interestingly enough, after attending many meetings with BPD and talking with officers, they always say there is no gang activity in Berkeley; gangs in Berkeley is just not a problem.


    WSB and others have been very active lately. There is a turf war. Nothing seems to be done to attend to it, and no one at City Hall nor at the BPD seems to want to acknowledge this huge gap in community protection.

  • bgaltoo

    how can the convictions and his shooting not be related??? Gang affiliations, even if you get out, follows you for life….

  • bgal4

    And the folks living in this area are in danger because of these criminals.
    Under Chief Meehan the neighborhood is less informed and engaged than former Chiefs Butler, Meisner and even “absent from leadership” Hambleton.

  • girl

    The police and the city itself will never admit that there are gangs in berkeley. they want to maintain this happy hippy college town image that everyone thinks berkeley is. ignoring the fact wont make it any better. this is just the beginning..

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I think you mean “Bollocks”….

  • andrew johnson

    I think you mean “hippie”…

  • guest

    I remember being attacked in the street 20 years ago by members of the Davis clan when I lived in the neighborhood. Perhaps the dad and uncle of Jermaine and Charles. Karma

  • Ray

    Y would u even say that I knw him personally n hopefully your karma is you drowning so u can die a slow painful death n feel your life leaving your body

  • Gus

    FWIW, I’m not sure of the purpose of the on-going dispute between neighborhood activists and BPD over whether or not Berkeley has “gangs.” Cops I’ve spoken with tend to draw a distinction between a group of neighborhood guys who commit crimes together and a professional criminal organization.

    But strongly doubt there are any Berkeley cops who don’t think that gun violence, street-level drug sales, and general lawlessness are real problems in Berkeley. Whether or not we’re going to refer to it as a “gang problem” or not seems kind of pointless.

    Note also that in this article, the only one denying gang involvement is a “friend of the Davis family.” Everyone in West Berkeley knows that the Davis family has been involved in criminal activity for generations.

    [Ed: This comment has been moderated.]

  • Tizzielish

    who is this ‘everyone’ that thinks Berkeley is a happy hippie town? Berkeley is not even remotely like the hippie enclave it used to be. Live in the present, babe.

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    what time are the protests scheduled for? what no protest?

  • To his credit a few years ago Darryl Moore (after much pressure), got former Chief Hambleton to admit, on the record in a city council meeting I attended, that gangs exist in Berkeley.

    The problem we face is that now that the city is on the record admitting that gangs exist, the city leaders now like to refer to local gangs as small time. We even had one former employee from the city manager’s office call the local WSB/Norteno gang members as harmless misguided youth……yet when I moved to this part of Berkeley, an officer responding to a call on my block informed me in a matter of fact manner that the Nortenos/WSB are responsible for violent muggings & grand theft auto.

    The H20 Waterfront on the other hand are the local crack dealers (crack is back…meth ruins your teeth).

    South & West Berkeley have had a SIGNIFICANT gang problem for decades. But, this is the part of town where the proverbial S**T gets swept under the carpet by the city. You can bet you ass if there were a gang problem in N. Berkeley or the Hills though, that the Mayor himself would be leading the charge to tackle the problem. But hey…some neighborhoods are less equal than others in terms of crime abatement….just saying…

  • I’d rather not say…

    Del Porto is a real “Dick” and the meadi is allowed to be the megaphone for these asswholes who give a rats ass about what is happening in the communtiy. ” In recent years, Jermaine Davis had been leading a productive life far away from gang activity, he said. “He has really changed his life around,” said Walker. “He got into trouble when he was younger but he has been doing really good. He has been helping out with his nephew, who plays football. He’s really good with the little kids.” Bullcrap. Really??? Who makes this stuff up.

  • bgal4

    This is easy to answer. If Berkeley took seriously it’s gang problem the city would fund an official dedicated unit, currently two officers do some gang intervention activities. As westberzkeley states that meeting was a turning point which was hard fought and very late in coming. There is no excuse for denying or minimizing such a serious social problem. In the last couple of years there has been some outreach activities between these officers and the middle school. Under Jim Slemp BHS refused to coordinate interventions for active gang members, kids in real trouble. Hopefully the new Supt will recognize the need, Hayward and south county school districts have been proactive regarding gang activity for a long time.

    DTF is the violence suppression unit larging responsible for drug and gang crime control, the unit has been severely cut down in size.

    Black gangs identify by block or neighborhood, Latino gangs maintain affiliation with Nortenos #14 or Surenos #13. Lately there is overlap and morphing blurring group affiliations as was apparent in last year spate of shootings between, west Oakland, Border Brothers and south Berkeley.

    Berkeley most definitely needs a functioning gang unit, it does not much staffing rather dedicated resources and the capacity to utilize gang intelligence in investigations and with beat cops. My husband customized SF database many years ago according to dept needs, he also mapped gang violence by victim address, perp address , and incident location. The patterns were not surprising but the detail was rich in actionable information for the task force use and prevention programming.

    In my judgement, Berkeley is behind in developing effective resources to address gang violence.

  • Just Sayin

    Coincidence? I think not…

  • TN

    If a social phenomena doesn’t have a label, it tends to be ignored. Giving this grouping of people a name makes clear what the problem is. And we can direct attention to it.

    This group has given itself a name. “Waterfront/WF/H2O.” Their tags are everywhere in South and West Berkeley. There’s plenty of evidence to think that they consider themselves a “gang.”

    This group is self perpetuating, Younger, new members are attracted to the group even as older members drop out or end up in prison or be killed. And these new members are not just the family members of the older members. Some are unrelated. They end up becoming implicated in the activities of the group and in the endless cycle of vengeance between themselves and other similar groups in Oakland and Richmond. Waterfront members are known to have committed murders of rivals in Oakland in the name of the “gang.”

    In order to break the cycle, we can’t just deal with individuals and their individual crimes. We need to deal with the dynamics of the group.

    When the City avoid using the term “gang,” they are avoiding the deeper commitment it would take to stop the cycle.

  • Anon

    So they killed 3 innocent people to get the one guy they wanted? Epic fail for this gang.

  • bisphenol

    SKS is just a rifle (read the wiki page?) .. please stop with the breathless “assault weapon” stuff. It’s a gun, that’s plenty bad enough.

  • girl

    everyone that is not from berkeley. of course its not. but no one else seems to understand that..

  • Guest

    Well, actually it is an “assault weapon”, a.k.a. an assault rifle. It is a Soviet military rifle, the predecessor of the AK-47. Made to kill people, lots of them and fast.

  • guest

    Old military rifle yes, but the SKS is semiautomatic only, no select fire capability. It also has a conventional wood stock with no pistol grip, and loads from the top instead of using a removable magazine. If that qualifies it as an assault rifle, then your definition covers just about any auto-loading rifle.

    My real point was that when “semiautomatic”, “hollow points” and “assault weapon” are tossed about for their hyperbolic and rhetorical value it dilutes the discussion.

    What’s really more remarkable about the SKS is not that it has any specific features that make it more or less deadly (it’s still a gun, okay?), but rather that there are a LOT of them on the market and they are really cheap.

  • Sean Barry

    Even if this incident wasn’t related to the recent verdict in Oakland, it seems pretty clear that gang activity remains a problem in Berkeley in need of frank discussion and solutions.

  • Concerned_Resident

    I agree, Linda Maio isn’t concerned with the real issues facing west berkeley

  • Unknown

    i would appreciate if you all would stop talking about my cousins , they weren’t involved with any gang, we were all just family that had each others back no matter what happen.. All he wanted to do was take care of our grandma , mom & his family … nothing else.